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Deadly Attack in Karachi Raises Fears of Militant Reach

A Pakistani rescue worker and volunteers remove a body from the site of bomb explosion in Karachi, Pakistan, 11 Nov. 2010.

Pakistani officials said Friday no terrorists were being held in a police building in the southern port city of Karachi when militants attacked it in a well-coordinated deadly assault Thursday, killing at least 18 people and wounding more than 115 others.

Authorities, addressing speculation the attackers were attempting to free their associates, said detained suspected terrorists were being held elsewhere.

A gang of gunmen penetrated a high-security area of Karachi that is home to the U.S Consulate, two luxury hotels and the offices of regional leaders. They opened fire on the Crime Investigation Department compound, then detonated a vehicle packed with explosives, destroying much of the building, damaging nearby houses, and leaving a huge crater in the road.

The Crime Investigation Department takes the lead in hunting down terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, and is used as a detention center for criminals.

The Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for the attack, which has raised fears that militants may be extending their reach beyond repeatedly hit areas in the northwest and central Pakistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have condemned the blast and said that such violence will not deter the government from fighting against terrorism.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.