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Bombings Near Pakistan-American Cultural Center Rattle Karachi - 2004-05-26


Back-to-back bombings near the Pakistan-American Cultural Center have rattled Pakistan's port city of Karachi. At least one policeman is dead and more than two dozen people are injured, including several other police officers and two journalists.

The first bomb, placed inside a car near the cultural mission, drew police to the scene.

Among the first officers to arrive was Senior Superintendent of Police Ghulam Mohammed Dogar, who immediately suspected the possibility of a second bomb.

After rushing the sole victim of the first blast to the hospital, Superintendent Dogar said that, police spotted a suspicious car.

?We got it verified that the registration was not matching with the maker of the vehicle,? he said. ?So then I had a sixth sense it is going to explode.?

He added that as police attempted to evacuate the scene, the second bomb went off.

?I was standing about 20 feet from the scene of the crime where [the] second explosion happened,? he recalled. ?It just exploded and it was all dust and nothing else.?

He said that an investigation is underway and declined to speculate on the motives.

The cultural center is a private non-profit agency that receives some funding from the U.S. government. It is near the U.S. consul general's home and also near an old Indian diplomatic mission.

Reports say an English class was under way at the center when the first blast took place.

The bombing is the third attack on a U.S.-related facility in Pakistan's largest city. In June of last year, a car bombing in front of the U.S. Consulate killed 12 Pakistanis. Earlier this year, police managed to foil a second bombing attempt on the consulate.

Karachi has been the site of numerous deadly bomb attacks, including both political and religious violence.