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Explosions Target Bangladesh Opposition Rally - 2004-08-21

In Bangladesh, a series of explosions at an opposition party rally, where a former prime minister was speaking, killed at least 13 people and wounded dozens of others. It is the latest in a series of blasts in the country this year.

Several explosions ripped through the packed rally, just as opposition leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed ended an address to party workers outside the headquarters of her Awami League party in Dhaka.

Thousands of people were attending the rally, and people fled in panic. Chaos followed, as angry party supporters smashed and burned cars. Police fired tear gas to disperse the rampaging crowd.

Ms. Hasina, who was the country's former prime minister, escaped unhurt. Awami League General-Secretary Abdul Jalil said the blasts targeted her.

Television pictures showed many badly wounded people lying on the street just after the explosions. Hundreds of anxious relatives are crowding Dhaka's main hospital, where the injured have been taken. There are fears the death toll will rise, because many are said to be critically injured.

The blast is the latest in a series of bomb attacks in Bangladesh this year. Earlier this month, an Awami League leader was killed in a bomb explosion in the northeastern town of Sylhet.

Saturday's rally was called to protest that bombing.

In May, a bomb exploded near a mosque in Sylhet, killing three people and wounding 50, including the British High Commissioner in Dhaka. No claims of responsibility have been made for any of the blasts. Neither have any arrests been made in connection with the bombings, which have rocked the country.