26 wounded in Karachi suicide attack

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iol pic wld Karachi bomb REUTERS File image - Rescue workers try to extinguish a fire at the site of a blast near the Ranger's office in Karachi.

Karachi - A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden pick-up truck into the gate of a government paramilitary base in Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, causing a huge blast that wounded at least 26 people.

The attack on the Rangers complex in a northern suburb of Karachi came early in the morning when many residents were asleep and offices were yet to open. No deaths were immediately confirmed.

Karachi is in the grip of a long-running wave of sectarian, ethnic and political violence and Friday's attack comes as the city's main political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is urging the government to tackle Taliban elements in the city.

“An explosives-laden vehicle rammed into the gate of the residential area of the complex and hit its wall. A total of 21 Rangers have been injured in the attack this morning,” a Rangers spokesman told AFP.

Senior police official Khurram Waris told AFP that four civilians and a police officer were also wounded.

The provincial police chief said that it was a suicide attack and only the tight security measures in force at the base had prevented major loss of life.

“It seems it was a suicide attack. The vehicle exploded before the gate of Rangers' complex because it could not enter inside due to high security,” Fayyaz Lagahari told AFP.

The flatbed pickup truck was loaded with up to 150 kilograms of explosives, senior investigating officer Javed Odho told the Geo television station.

Odho said that buildings inside the complex and around it had been damaged by the blast.

MQM has called an unofficial national “referendum” next week to ask voters whether they want Pakistan to follow the ideology of the Taliban or the vision for the country imagined by its founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. - AFP


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