KARACHI, July 7: Terror struck the city six times within an hour on Monday as unknown terrorists triggered a series of blasts that wounded over 50 people, including children and policemen.

The blasts occurred between 7:05pm and 7:50pm, with an interval of eight to 10 minutes, at Banaras Chowk, Orangi Town, Pak Colony and Shahrah-i-Noorjahan.

The DIG of Karachi West, Aleem Jaffery, told Dawn that 41 people were injured in the series of blasts at five places. “No one was killed in the blasts, however,” he added.

Observers and analysts found the serial bomb attack in the provincial capital different from the usual pattern of terrorist strikes in the country. Most of the bombs used were of a low intensity and designed more to spread panic than to cause large-scale human casualty.

Most of the suicide attacks over the past one year have targeted law-enforcement personnel or, in the case of some areas in the North-West Frontier Province, political or sectarian rivals. Also, there was no clue to gauge who could benefit from a destabilisation of the country’s financial hub at a time when most of the political or ethnic rivals in Sindh are partners in the ruling coalition.

DIG Jaffery said low intensity locally made devices were used in the blasts. “The series of blasts was aimed at sowing terror, ” he added.The DIG said strict security measures were taken following the explosions. “Law enforcers have been deployed heavily in certain areas,” he added.

A rangers’ spokesman said that contingents of Sindh Rangers had been sent to the affected parts of the city.

True to pattern for the city, there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Witnesses said the first bomb exploded at a garbage den at Banaras Chowk. They said enraged people took to the streets and started pelting vehicular traffic with stones following the blast.

However, the witnesses added, the violent protest came to an abrupt halt when another blast occurred at a nearby pavement. Sixteen people were injured in the two blasts.

Not long after the Edhi and Chheepa ambulances began shifting victims to hospital, a third blast rocked neighbourhoods in North Nazimabad, leaving the city in a daze.

The device was planted in a Shahzore truck and at least eight people were wounded in the blast.

A senior police officer told Dawn that the truck had a refill from a petrol pump in Banaras, where two blasts took place.

Witnesses said the fourth bomb exploded near Khyber Hotel, in Frontier Colony, Orangi Town. They said while bewildered people were still trying to make out what had happened, a big bang caused by another blast at nearby Qasba Chowk set off a wave of panic.

Residents said two bomb blasts occurred in parts of Pak Colony, wounding over a dozen people and destroying four motorcycles, a taxi and a house.

The police, however, said only one bomb blast took place in the vicinity, while the other incident was a gas cylinder explosion.

Emergency was declared at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where most of the wounded were taken.

Witnesses said a large number of ANP workers also reached the hospital and assisted volunteers in taking care of the victims.

Babar Khattak, Sindh’s police chief, told AFP that it appeared 150-200 grams of explosives were used in each of the six explosions _ only enough to create a relatively small blast.

“It seems the series of blasts was carried out to create harassment and fear among citizens,” Khattak said.

He said it was worth noting that the areas struck by the bombs had a large number of

Pukhtuns, adding the explosions may have been aimed at sparking ethnic unrest.

Rehman Malik, the prime minister’s adviser, was quoted by the APP as saying that the blasts appeared to have been pre-planned and aimed at destabilising the city.

Tension gripped several neighbourhoods affected by the bombs, with mobs pelting cars with stones, burning tyres and chanting anti-government slogans.



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