Bombing on train from India to Pakistan kills at least 68

Monday, February 19, 2007

Around midnight on Sunday, a pair of bombs exploded on the Samjhauta Express (Friendship Express), a night train going from Delhi, India to Lahore, Pakistan. At least 68 fatalities have been reported. Two more suitcases with improvised explosive devices have been found on the train. Some 13 passengers were reported injured, some with severe burns. According to the police, the explosions were rather small but intended to cause a fire. Since lower class coaches in India generally have barred windows, people cannot flee easily through the window.

The Indian prime minister's office condemned the act as an "act of terror" and promised to find the people responsible. The Pakistani government also condemned the attack.

The incident comes just before a planned visit of Pakistan's foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri to India for peace talks, and two weeks before both countries have scheduled a meeting to exchange information on terrorism. Kasuri said his trip would not be cancelled. Pakistani President Musharraf stated: "We will not allow elements which want to sabotage the ongoing peace process to succeed in their nefarious designs."

Last July, attacks on trains in Mumbai killed 186. "It's sabotage. It's an act of terrorism like the one in Mumbai," said railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The attack also comes days before the anniversary of the Godhra train burning on 27 February, 2002.


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