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Officials say Sabotage Caused Fatal Pakistan Train Crash

  • Benjamin Sand

Pakistani officials say a train crash Sunday was an act of sabotage. A damaged rail line sent a packed express train off the track and into a deep ravine, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more.

At least five cars barreled off the track Sunday night, sending one compartment down a deep ravine near Jhelum city in eastern Pakistan.

Almost 600 people were on board the Islamabad Express traveling from Rawalpindi to Lahore.

Speaking by phone from the scene, Pakistan's Minister of Railways Shamim Haider said the track was apparently sabotaged just minutes before the crowded train passed through.

"Plates at both ends of one rail were removed," said Haider. "They must have been removed recently because one train passed at 6:20 and this [the wrecked train] was crossing at 7:20."

He says so far no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred about 100 kilometers southeast of the capital. An investigation is under way.

Emergency crews worked through the night pulling survivors out of the wreckage and taking the injured to a nearby hospital.

The area is considered politically stable and there is no record of insurgent activity in this part of Pakistan.

Similar attacks are fairly common in southwestern Pakistan, where tribal militants have been fighting government forces over control of local resources.

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