November 1999 News

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One killed, 26 injured as three blasts rock Muridke

5 November 1999
The News International, Pakistan
By Special Correspondent

MURIDKE: Three bombs exploded in quick succession near the gathering of Lashkar-e-Taiba, killing one person and injuring at least 26 others, said police and eyewitnesses. The dead man was identified as Muhammad Nadeem who worked at the oven of the restaurant where one of the explosions took place.

DIG (Traffic) Qamar Altaf, DIG (Police Crime Range) Malik Muhammad Maqbool and DC Tajul Malook Qureshi rushed to the spot where panic had spread among the people. "We don't know whether India was involved, but we are investigating the possibility," Iqbal said.

Seven of the wounded were in critical condition. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and it wasn't clear whether the victims had been attending the conference. The blasts took place about two kilometers from the annual gathering of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, residents said.

The first bomb weighing 1 kg went off at 2:20 pm outside a small hotel in Madina Market where over two dozens people were taking tea, said eyewitnesses and police. They said at least 24 people were injured, seven of them seriously.

The second bomb weighing half kg went off near Narowal Bus Stop at 3:20 pm, injuring a policeman Muhammad Yaseen, posted there for keeping watch, and the third device also weighing half kg exploded near city's railway station at 3:50 pm, injuring Gulzar Begum, an aged woman.

Bomb disposal units found a fourth bomb which they defused, police said. Police also ordered residents off the street, while the search was conducted. Security at the site of the three-day affair has been tight, with dozens of men checking for possible explosives.

A bomb exploded last year, killing five people at a similar gathering which the organisers blamed on Indian security agents. "This is a conspiracy against the freedom fighters," said conference leaders over loudspeakers on Thursday.


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