70 killed in Pakistani ordnance factory blast (Third lead)

August 21st, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 21 (IANS) More than 70 people were killed and about 100 injured in two suicide blasts outside a heavily guarded ordnance factory about 30 km from Islamabad, hospital and police sources said.An official of the Edhi ambulance service said they had picked up 52 bodies and evacuated more than 100 injured. The official said that some of the bodies were badly mutilated.

Khalid Hassan, a doctor at the Wah hospital, said about 70 to 80 people had died and about 30 were in a critical condition. He said that about 50 dead bodies had been brought to the hospital, where some of the injured had succumbed to their wounds.

A police official at the factory said the first blast occurred at gate number three as the workers were coming out after the day shift. The second blast occurred when people rushed to the scene of the first blast.

Police said both suicide bombers were on foot and the first one walked into the crowd of workers who were coming out of the gates, while the second bomber blew himself up when about 200 people gathered at the scene of the first blast.

Police said 7-8 people died on the spot in the first blast and some 40 died and 100 were injured in the second blast.

The Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) complex is home to some 15 units that produce different military hardware including tanks, guns and other equipment.

The complex employs 25,000 people who work in three shifts. Most of the employees are civilians while the administrative officials are from the military service.

Regional police chief Nasir Khan Durrani said all the dead are civilians and lower rank workers.

Durrani said the police in Punjab and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have been put on high alert.

This is the second blast in two days after former president Pervez Musharraf resigned Monday. The first one in a Dera Ismail Khan hospital Wednesday killed 20 people.

Because of its sensitive nature, the POF complex is considered a high security zone and army personnel handle its security. However, police guards the road in front of the factory which is a thoroughfare and used as a shortcut to several villages on either side of the factory.

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