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Bombs Detonate in Kathmandu, Ending Calm in Nepal

At least two women died and 23 other people have been injured in a wave of near simultaneous bombings in and around the Nepalese capital. Authorities say there were at least four blasts. As VOA's Steve Herman reports from our South Asia bureau in New Delhi, the attacks might be intended to disrupt key elections slated to take place in less than three months.

The bombings in Kathmandu mark the most serious outbreak of violence there since a truce between Maoists and the government last year.

Authorities report the high intensity bombs went off within a half hour period in the Nepalese capital Sunday afternoon. A crowded passenger bus was one of the targets, seriously injuring many onboard. Another detonation took place near an army officers' club and others occurred in crowded commercial districts.

The Home Ministry says there has been no claim of responsibility.

Nepal's Maoists, who waged a decade-long war against the monarchy, want the interim government to declare the country a republic before the election, a move Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has resisted.

U.N. Mission in Nepal spokesman Kieran Dwyer says this type of attack was not a tactic the communist group used during the civil war.

"Even in the 10-year conflict there were not bombs planted in the capital in this way. So this will raise, certainly, a new level of fear here in Kathmandu," Dwyer said.

On Saturday, Nepal's home secretary, Umesh Mainali, warned there are 18 armed groups carrying out violent activities in the country in an effort to force cancellation of the upcoming national elections.

The November 22 polling would likely decide the fate of the embattled monarch, King Gyanendra, who was stripped of most of his powers following a 14-month period of authoritarian rule that ended last April.

Widespread opposition to the king led to political parties, including the Maoists, agreeing to participate this year in a new, interim government.