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25 killed, 154 wounded in Pakistan bomb attack

09 march 2011, 00:20
©AFP Photo by Aamir Qureshi
©AFP Photo by Aamir Qureshi
A car bomb planted by suspected Islamic militants exploded at a filling station in Pakistan's Punjab province Tuesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 154 others, AFP reports citing the official sources.

Many of those hurt were trapped for hours by debris and shrapnel after the blast reduced the station building to rubble, with rescue workers heaving stones and metal away to rescue survivors.

"A total of 25 people were killed and 154 injured, some of them were in a serious condition," Adnan Khalil, the official in charge of rescue efforts, told AFP.

The gas station building was flattened in the blast, while a nearby office of national airline Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was badly damaged.

"The rescue work is almost over. Most casualties were recovered from the debris of the PIA building and gas station," Khalil said.

District civil defence officer Chaudry Riaz Ahmed said the blast was caused by a planted bomb.

"A Toyota Corolla carrying about 40 kilogrammes of explosives was parked near the filling station. It exploded around 10.25am," he said, adding that more than 50 vehicles were damaged by the blast.

Eyewitness Ijaz Hussain told reporters at the site that he heard and felt a loud blast before chaos ensued.

"It was a deafening blast -- I thought the ground had been jolted by an earthquake. Everybody was running here and there to save his life. I saw injured people and dead bodies scattered here and there," said Hussain.

"I was on way to my office after parking my office car at the gas station," a PIA driver, Mohammad Safdar, 42, told AFP from his hospital bed where he was being treated for leg injuries.

"Suddenly there was a huge blast and I felt somebody threw me away. I was brought to the hospital unconscious."

Nadia Tariq, 25-year-old ticketing clerk at PIA office said "the blast shattered all windows in our office. I received cuts and bruises and rushed out and a motorcyclist shifted me to the hospital."

Pakistan has been wracked by violence in recent years, mostly targeting security officials.

Some 4,000 people have been killed in bomb blasts, suicide and gun attacks blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters since Pakistan troops stormed a militant mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.

On Saturday at least one person was killed and another wounded when a bomb exploded in a house in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi.

Faisalabad city is near the home of a Christian government minister who was buried Friday after being killed in a hail of bullets in Islamabad last week over his opposition to the country's strict Islamic blasphemy laws.

His assassination sparked international outrage and stoked concern about rampant militancy and rising extremism throughout the nuclear-armed nation, a fractious ally in the US-led war in Afghanistan.

By Khurram Shahzad

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