ISLAMABAD: At least 18 people were killed and 40 others injured when a powerful explosion occurred today in Hyderabad city in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, police said.
The explosion, which was accidental, in an LPG container, killed 18 people at a busy transport hub in the city, a senior police officer said.
The officer said that there was no indication that the blast was an act of terrorism.
The blast was so powerful that it flattened several buildings and damaged trucks and buses parked in the area. Rescue teams were rushed to the site to remove bodies and the injured from the debris.
The officer said that about 40 people who were injured were rushed to nearby hospitals. Doctors at a nearby hospital said they have so far received 14 bodies.
Hyderabad is located 160 km (100 miles) north of the southern financial capital of Karachi.
Police officials said the explosion took place when a truck carrying gas cylinders was approaching a truck stand near Hala Naqa on the outskirts of Hyderabad on the super highway.
“What we know is the truck had gas cylinders but we are investigating whether there was a bomb planted in the truck or the explosion took place due to cylinders leak,” the district Police Officer, Mr Javed Alam said.
“An emergency has been declared in Hyderabad and the Sindh province with law enforcement agencies put on high alert after this tragic incident,” Alam said.
Television channels reported eye witnesses as saying that the explosion occurred as the truck approached the toll plaza outside Hyderabad.
In recent months, security agencies have picked up number of prominent leaders and activists of the Tehreek-e-Taliban and other banned militant outfits with many of them having set up safe houses in and around the city after escaping the military operations in the tribal areas.