Truck blast kills 18 in Pakistan
Published 28/06/2010 | 16:22
A truck carrying chemicals has accidentally exploded in southern Pakistan after pressure built up in its storage tank, killing 18 people and wounding 40, police said.
Hundreds of people rushed to the truck depot in Hyderabad city to search through the rubble of destroyed shops for dead and wounded, local television footage showed.
Authorities ruled out terrorism and determined the blast occurred from a pressure buildup, said Mohammad Ali Baloch, the senior police official in Hyderabad.
The truck was carrying 7,925 gallons (30,000 litres) of "thinner," said Babar Khattak, the police chief in Sindh province.
Pakistan has been wracked by terrorist attacks over the past few years, prompting the army to launch a series of offensives against the Pakistani Taliban along the country's northwest. Militants also often launch attacks on trucks carrying supplies to NATO and US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters have also ambushed a Pakistan army convoy as it passed through a village in the Bajur tribal area, killing four soldiers, said Mohammad Jamil Khan, a senior government official in Bajur.
The military retaliated and killed three militants, he said. The attack occurred in Mamound village, some 15 miles north of Khar, the main town in Bajur.
The military has twice declared victory in Bajur, but attacks blamed on the militants continue.
Pakistan has also experienced violence at the hands of a separatist movement in the south-western province of Baluchistan.
Separatists shot and killed a local reporter in Khuzdar district on Sunday as he traveled in a vehicle with his family, said Paris-based Reporters Without Borders in a statement.