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11 killed in blast outside football ground in Karachi

world Updated: Aug 08, 2013 00:02 IST

PTI
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Eleven people, including several children, were killed and around 30 injured when a bomb went off outside a football ground in the Pakistani port city of Karachi on Wednesday, police said.

The apparent target of the attack was provincial minister Javed Nagori, who escaped unhurt. The bomb was detonated near Nagori's vehicle as he leaving after witnessing a match, a police officer said.

The blast occurred early on Wednesday morning outside the ground in the impoverished and densely populated Lyari area, which has a tradition of holding soccer matches in the holy month of Ramzan. The bomb was planted in a motorcycle.

Pakistan People's Party leader Sania Naz said at least 11 people, including children aged between six and 15, were killed. However, senior police officer Tariq Dharejo put the death toll at eight.

"It was a six-kilogram explosive device set off by remote control and the target was apparently the minister," Dharejo said.

"The blast took place just as the minister came out of the ground after watching the football match around the time of 'sehri' but he escaped unhurt," he said, referring to the pre-dawn meal before a day of fasting.

The blast hit people, including children, who were leaving the ground. It also damaged the minister's car, police said.

International footballer and referee Ahmed Jan, who lives in Lyari and organises football matches during Ramzan every year, said this was the first time terrorists had targeted such an event.

"It is very sad. This event is held every year because the children love football and want to be a Maradona or Ronaldo despite the conditions in Lyari," he said.

Parents will now be reluctant to send their children to the football ground, he said.

With Eid-ul-Fitr set to be celebrated later this week, security has been tightened across Karachi. However, four blasts outside liquor shops in Defence and Gulshan-e-Iqbal areas last night brought into focus the poor security situation in the city.