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Bhutto-led party announces three-day mourning
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16:15, October 19, 2007

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The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto Friday announced three days' countrywide mourning after attacks on the party's rally that killed over 130 and wounded more than 500 people.

In the three-day mourning, party flag at the PPP offices throughout Pakistan would be lowered at half-mast and black flags will be hoisted to mourn the tragic incident, according to local press reports.

Bhutto was unhurt, narrowly escaping with her life as the blasts ripped through the police escort of the parade in the streets of the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the attacks has risen to 138, according to the private GEO TV.

Two explosions went off shortly after midnight close to the vehicle Bhutto was traveling in, at the head of a procession of hundreds of thousands of PPP supporters who had flooded the streets of Karachi to welcome the return of their leader.

Leaving the airport, Bhutto refused to use a bulletproof glass cubicle that had been built atop the truck taking her to the tomb of Pakistan's founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, to give a speech. Instead, she squeezed between other party officials along a railing at the front.

She had just gone to a downstairs compartment in the truck for a rest when the blast occurred, local TV quoted witnesses as saying. A small explosion erupted near the front of the vehicle. That was quickly followed by a larger blast just feet from the truck, setting an escorting police van on fire and breaking windows in Bhutto's vehicle.

After the explosions, Bhutto canceled the plan to deliver a speech at the Jinnah mausoleum and was escorted by police to her residence.

The attack bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda and resembled assassination attempts by militants linked to the terrorist network on President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in recent years, according to the reports.

Source: Xinhua

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