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Bomb blast on bus wounds 13 in Pakistan's Karachi
( 2003-09-28 09:11) (Agencies)

A time bomb exploded on board a passenger bus in the restive port city of Karachi on Saturday, wounding up to 13 people, police and doctors said.

"A low intensity time bomb has exploded on board a moving passenger bus," Syed Kamal Shah, inspector general of Sindh province police, told Reuters.

"This kind of terrorism has not been witnessed before in the city in recent years."

Doctors said at least 13 people were admitted to two state-run hospitals. One passenger is in critical condition, they added. Shah said 11 people were wounded.

"I heard a clock ticking and then there was a loud explosion in the front side of the bus," said Babar Saeed, one of the victims. "My eyes have only reopened in hospital."

Mohammed Omar, a middle aged victim who had been sitting at the back of the bus, said smoke filled the vehicle and people screamed for help. "I jumped out of the bus...my leg has been broken."

The explosion occurred on the main M.A. Jinnah Road, in the heart of the city, just three days ahead of the arrival in the eastern city of Lahore of the South African cricket team, which initially canceled its visit due to security concerns.

It eventually agreed to play after Karachi was excluded from the itinerary.

Shah said the explosion destroyed the inside of the bus, but did not rip it apart.

"We have solved most cases of terrorism in the past. We will solve this case as well," he said.

Karachi has witnessed a series of bloody attacks against Western targets, religious minorities and government officials.

Police have blamed them on Islamic militants angered by Pakistan's support for Washington's "war on terror" and the ousting of the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

Some of the militants are suspected to have links to the al Qaeda network.

But police said this was the first time ordinary civilians had been targeted.

The attack came a week after a bomb explosion at an office block in Karachi's business heart. Police said the September 19 blast was likely related to business rivalry. No one was hurt.

Sporadic violence still plagues the teeming city of 14 million, although in recent months it has been mainly between rival sectarian groups.

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