Pak: ATM machines, rail tracks targeted in 19 blasts



Islamabad: At least 19 low-intensity bomb blasts targeted ATM machines of state-run banks and railway tracks in Sindh province of southern Pakistan on Wednesday, injuring six persons, including two policemen.

The explosions occurred in cities and towns across Sindh, including the capital city of Karachi, early this morning.

A private security guard was injured in a blast at a bank in Kotri town while two policemen were wounded in blasts at Hyderabad and Dorki, officials of the provincial Home Department said.

Five blasts targeted ATM machines outside branches of the National Bank of Pakistan and Sindh Bank in Hyderabad city.

Blasts were also reported in Kotri, Dadu, Badin, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Thatta, Ranipur, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Tando Mohammad Khan and Larkana.

Two vehicles were damaged in the blast at Kotri.

A shop adjacent to the National Bank branch in Jamshoro was damaged by a blast. One low-intensity explosion damaged railway tracks near Ghotki.

The Jaffar Express train, going from Punjab to Sindh, had a narrow escape, media reports said.

Local residents gathered at the tracks and signalled the train to stop.

A blast was also reported at Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi though there were no casualties.

In Hyderabad city, an injured man underwent surgery while other wounded were discharged after being given first aid, said Anwar Arain, a doctor at the Civil Hospital.

Latif Ansari, regional head of the National Bank, said 11 branches were attacked. "The terrorists only targeted the ATM machine rooms. However, the roof of a branch in Latifabad caved in and documents and furniture caught fire," he said.

Senior Superintendent of Police Haseeb Afzal Baig said the first bomb went off in Hyderabad at about 5:30 am, local time.

The bombs used in Hyderabad city contained at least 500 gm of explosives, he said.

A little-known organisation called the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Aijaz Bhatti said police had found pamphlets bearing the name of the group near banks targeted in Hyderabad.

Baig said this was the same group which had carried out bomb attacks on railway tracks and power pylons in the past.

Security was tightened at all branches of the National Bank, police officials said.

PTI