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Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 21:59 UK

Five killed in Balochistan blast

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A bomb has exploded at an Islamic religious school in south-western Pakistan, killing five people and wounding at least eight.

The explosion, near the city of Quetta, caused a gaping hole in the madrassa's external wall, TV footage showed.

Police said there were conflicting reports about what had happened.

Students said someone threw explosives into the madrassa, one official said, but another suggested the blast took place in a room inside the building.

"We are looking into all possibilities including... whether they were preparing some explosives," Reuters news agency quoted the policeman as saying.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan.

Police chief Wazir Khan Nasir said the madrassa was run by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a hardline Islamic party that is part of Pakistan's ruling coalition government, the Associated Press reported.

But a local party leader denied links to the madrassa and said that the blast was probably staged to discredit religious schools.




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