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Eight killed in wave of Iran bombings

Tehran, June 13, IRNA-At least eight people were killed and up to 74 others injured in a series of explosions in the western city of Ahvaz and capital Tehran Sunday.

photo: ISNA

At least one person was killed and four others injured in an explosion which occurred near the Shohada-Safa juncture in Tehran.

Witnesses said a bomb hidden in a garbage near a bus station can had gone off.

They said the injured had sustained serious injuries to their hands and legs. Local residents also said there was no bus at the station at the time of the explosion, meaning many lives were saved.

A police investigator said a local hospital had received the body of an unidentified 60-year-old man who was killed instantly. Four injured people were also admitted to the hospital.

An informed source at the Tehran Governorate had said two people were killed and three others wounded in the attack.

The explosion caused heavy traffic in the adjoining streets, including at the sprawling Imam Hussein square.

Two more bombs went off in separate attacks here Sunday night but didn't cause any casualties.

A home-made bomb exploded on the central Taleqani street at 21.25 hours (1655 GMT), breaking glasses of the nearby buildings but causing no casualties.

In another attack, a stun bomb exploded in front of a house on the Vashqani street in the Vahidiyeh district at 23:40, but nobody was injured.

The house belongs to Seyed Taqi Mousavi, a cleric who has a register office for marriages and divorces.

Witnesses said they had seen a white Peykan car which left a black package in front of the house before speeding away, minutes after which a powerful explosion struck.

Mousavi said this was the second assassination attempt on his life since 18 years ago when the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization tried to kill him when he was the leader of a local mosque.

The bombings came as a series of blasts in the southern city of Ahvaz killed seven people and injured more than 70 others Sunday.

photo: ISNA

According to the governor of the Khuzestan province, Fat'hollah Moin, most of the injured received treatment for light injuries.

"These individuals had sustained light injuries because of the breaking glass and other flying objects," he said.

Moin said a task force committee has been formed to attend to those wounded in the explosions.

He said authorities were working to reach a conclusion about who was behind the bombings.

"These blind, criminal and anti-popular actions are not unprecedented in the Khuzestan province and those who committed these crimes are hand in glove with the enemies," Moin said.

"In the past, people in the Khuzestan province have strongly stood against the outside infiltration in this sensitive region and it is probable that this is a new effort in that line," he said.

The official said most of the dead and injured in the explosions were women and children.

The bombings come ahead of the presidential election later this month.

According to a survey released by IRNA Saturday, 54.8 percent of the likely electorate said they would 'definitely' participate in the June 17 election against 7.9 percent who said they would not take part.

Meanwhile, 43.3 percent said they believed the poll would attract a 'very large number' of the voters to the ballot boxes against 17.3 percent who thought otherwise.

The Council of Ministers issued a statement Sunday night, stressing that the bombings would have 'no impact on the strong will of the people and the government to live independently and freely'.

In their session, attended by President Mohammad Khatami, the ministers described the attacks as 'criminal and bitter' and hoped early recuperation of those injured.

They also urged the country's security and intelligence services 'to take the necessary action for a meticulous and swift investigation to uncover wicked sources of this tragedy'.

In April, Ahvaz witnessed unrest triggered by a letter purportedly calling for the relocation of ethnic Arabs from the city. Officials dismissed the letter as 'forged'.

Clashes erupted between police and ethnic Arabs in certain neighborhoods of the city, in which several state buildings, including banks and police cars were damaged and at least three people injured.

... Payvand News - 6/13/05 ... --

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