15 killed in bomb attack on gambling club in Karachi

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Islamabad, April 22, IRNA -- A bomb attack killed at least 15 people and injured 35 others in a gambling club in Pakistan's port city of Karachi Thursday night, Provincial Health Minister Dr. Sagheer Ahmed said.

According to Sagheer Ahmed, death toll may rise as 10 injured are registered critical.

Witnesses said that unidentified men threw hand grenade at a gambling club near Lyari neighbourhood. A large number of people were present at the club when the incident took place, they said.

Fayyaz Leghari, Police Chief in Sindh Province , of which Karachi is the capital, said an investigation team has been constituted to investigate motives behind the attack. He said that internal conflict between gambling groups could also be the result of the blast. But he added that the police will present report after through investigation.

A senior police official of the area, Iqbal Mehmood told reporters that initial investigations indicated that the assailants had planted a timer explosive device under a table in the club which is located in the huge parking lot of an old residential building.

'It appears to be a planted bomb which it went off also set off shrapnels killing and injuring people,' Mehmood said.

Initial reports suggested that armed men raided the club and threw hand grenades and other explosive material causing extensive damage and causalities.

But city police chief told reporters the attack was carried out after the explosion shook everyone inside the outside the club.

Government and private ambulances rushed to the attack scene and transferred the injured to the city’s three main hospitals. People from the nearby areas took part in the rescue operation and transferred the injured to hospitals.

Witnesses said that the gambling club was operating on the ground floor of a six-storey compound at Ghas Mandi locality and the authorities did not take action despite complaints by residents.

Police sources said that the targeted gambling club was the biggest in Karachi and people from across the city gather at the club for gambling.

The blast comes just few days after armed men lobbed grenades at the Rainbow centre in the bustling Saddar area and which is the largest market for audio and video CDs in the country.

Paramilitary force and police arrived at the scene and used batons to disperse the people who had gathered there after the blast.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.