KARACHI: A bomb targeting a passenger train killed at least seven people and wounded more than 30 on Sunday, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks this year.
The bomb went off near Unar station, 450 kilometres northwest of Karachi, and badly damaged several carriages. “The death toll in the explosion rose to seven after two injured persons died of their wounds in a hospital in Jacobabad town,” a senior local administration official, Sardar Jamali, told AFP. He said the Khushhal Khan Khattak express was travelling to Peshawar from Karachi when it was hit by the blast, which injured more than 30 people and damaged hundreds of metres of track.
Pakistan has endured a bloody start to the year with 114 people killed in attacks in January, according to an AFP tally. On January 29 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced talks with the Pakistani Taliban to “give peace another chance”, but some 60 more people have died in militant violence since then. Three carriages were derailed on Sunday and two of them were severely damaged by the force of the explosion.
A senior railways official Sikandar Lashari confirmed the toll of the bombing, for which there has been no claim of responsibility. Jamali said the bomb was likely an improvised explosive device. The general manager of Pakistan Railways, Anjum Parvaiz, suggested it was a remote-controlled device planted on the track. Parvaiz said 800 metres of track had been damaged. A bomb in one of the compartments of a train on the same route last month killed three people and wounded 20 in the central town of Rajanpur in Punjab.
Kahmore police and rescue teams reached the blast site and started their operation. Meanwhile, technical teams of Sukkur were engaged in restoring the damaged track. Pakistan Railways officials said that the passengers of the train were being transported to Kashmore by vehicles of police, rescue agencies and others.
The Baloch Republican Army (BRA) has claimed responsibility for the attack. Police and rescue officials said the blast hit the Peshawar-bound passenger train near Tangwani town in Kashmore District. Railway authorities dispatched teams to the blast site for relief and rescue operations as rail traffic on both up and down tracks was suspended. The local population also took part in the rescue activities. It took more than an hour for rescue officials to reach the spot. DS Railways said around 350 passengers were aboard the train. Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique has announced compensation for the deceased and the injured.
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