Pakistan: Explosion at Karachi bank leaves at least 15 dead

At least 15 people were killed and 16 others injured in an explosion Saturday at a bank branch in Karachi’s industrial area, police said.

A senior police officer said the explosion at a branch of Habib Bank Ltd, Pakistan’s largest lender, could have been caused by a gas leak. Sarfaraz Nawaz also told reporters that the building appeared to have been built over a sewer drain.

“Our explosives team is at work trying to determine the nature of the explosion, but the structure was apparently built on a drain and gas could be a likely cause,” he said.

In a statement on Twitter, Habib Bank said an explosion had damaged its branch and caused casualties and injuries. “Our sympathy is with the bereaved families,” it added.

A gas station next to the bank in Sindh Industrial Trading Estate and cars parked nearby were badly damaged. Television footage showed the bank’s floor torn apart, revealing twisted iron bars.

“So far, 15 people have died and 16 have been injured at the hospital,” Karachi administrator Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet.

Another senior police officer, Sharjeel Kharal, told reporters it was not immediately clear how many were killed or injured in the blast as the bank had a skeleton on Saturday.

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