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Gas blast in Karachi kills 12 and injured 11 more, destroying bank

Huge explosion of gas that was trapped in Karachi sewage system kills 12 and injures eleven more in Pakistan

  • A gas explosion in Karachi, Pakistan, on Saturday killed 12 and injured 11 more and left an HBL bank in ruins
  • Police have not ruled out whether militants had a part to play in igniting gas that had accumulated in a sewer
  • The bank’s floor was blown out and sewage mixed with rubble as emergency workers searched for survivors
  • Police spokesman Sohail Jokhio said  a team of explosives experts was summoned to investigate the blast

A powerful gas explosion in a sewage system in southern Pakistani killed at least 12 people and injured 11 others on Saturday, police and health officials said.

Police spokesman Sohail Jokhio said the blast was caused when something ignited gas that had accumulated in the sewer beneath a local bank building in the Shershah neighborhood of the port city of Karachi.

The powerful blast destroyed an HBL bank building. The entire structure of the Shershah bank branch was damaged and police have not ruled whether it was the work of militants.

The floor was blown out and furniture was mired in sewage from below. The impact of the blast damaged several cars parked nearby and threw debris onto a petrol station on the other side of the building.

A view of the site after a gas explosion near a bank in Karachi, Pakistan today. Police have not ruled whether it was the work of militants

Rescuers hold a motorbike amid the debris of a bank building that collapsed after the gas blast in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan

The blast took place in the Paracha Chowk area of the Shersha, on northern bank of the Lyari River in Karachi

Emergency workers flocked to the site in a bid to rescue survivors of the blast who were trapped in the rubble of the bank

Mr Jokhio said it was not yet clear what ignited the gas but a team of explosives experts had been summoned to investigate.

Passerby Mohammad Sameer said he was in the crowded bank branch moments before the blast but left shortly before the explosion, and then rushed back to the damaged bank to rescue victims. 

He said: ‘Thank God I left the venue otherwise I would also been among the affected ones.’

Military officials with assault rifles and bullet-proof vests were soon seen at the site of the blast that killed at least 12 people

At least more 11 people were injured by the blast. A faded yellow digger was deployed to clear some of the debris at the scene

Dr. Sabir Memon at Trauma Center Karachi said 10 people were killed and 13 others were injured, at least three critically. He said several injured were sent to the intensive care unit.

Senior police officer Sarafar Nawaz Shaikh later said two of the injured died at the hospital raising the death toll to 12.

He said investigators were not ruling out the possibility the explosion was the work of militants.

‘We will come up with a clear version once the explosives experts complete their job,’ he added.  

Pakistani security officials and emergency workers inspected the scene of the blast that took place

Emergency workers in masks pass forward stretchers to carry people injured or killed in the blast today

Work to clear the area and search for survivors carried on throughout the afternoon and into the evening in Pakistan

Much of the bottom floor of the building was blown apart, with debris flying across the road and landing in the petrol station opposite

A larger black digger clears rubble after a series of cordons were set up at the scene of the blast

A man eases himself down into a crater in the basement of the bank caused by the blast that took place today

The explosion ripped through the framework of the building, revealing concrete ripped apart and metal poles within its structure

Many sewage channels in the city have been covered, mostly illegally, by constructing concrete structures over them.

Mukhtar Abro, a local administrator, said illegal construction over the sewage area of the explosion was under notice to vacate and the structures were to be demolished.

On Saturday evening another bomb, allegedly planted in a motorcycle parked in a bazar, exploded in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing one passerby and wounding four others. 

Senior officer Fida Hussain said two of the wounded were transported to hospital in critical condition. No one claimed responsibility for the blast. 

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