|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Powerful bombs kill 29 near Pakistani capital
September 04, 2007 09:35 IST
Last Updated: September 04, 2007 12:16 IST
At least 29 people were killed and scores of others injured in twin bomb attacks, including one targeting an army bus, in crowded markets of Rawalpindi, the Pakistani garrison city near Islamabad.
The first explosion occurred in a bus ferrying Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission employees to work in the city's busy Qasim bazaar, police said.
Army spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad said 17 people were killed in the blast which occurred at around 7.30 am and turned the white-coloured bus into a mangled heap of metal.
The second bomb planted on a motorbike went off 15 minutes later at the bustling R A Bazaar killing at least 12 people.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. "It is terrorism because innocent people were killed in both blasts," Arshad said.
The army bus was believed to be carrying employees of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which operates the country's nuclear and missile programme, Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema was quoted as saying.
Rescue workers cut open the wreckage to extricate the dead and the injured.
The blasts sparked panic in the city. Eyewitnesses said there was a huge explosion with body parts and blood scattered on the road.
The second attack may also have targeted another vehicle carrying defence employees, security officials said.
"We are investigating what caused the bombings," Cheema said.
Pakistan has been experiencing a spate of terror attacks by pro-Taliban militants since the July military raid on Lal Masjid in Islamabad to flush out Islamic extremists.
The bombings come amid a simmering political crises faced by President Pervez Musharraf [Images] over his plans to get re-elected in September, staunchly opposed by political rivals Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto [Images], both planning to return from exile.
Military officials say 60 soldiers and 250 militants have been killed in violence in about six weeks.