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    4 killed, 20 wounded in Balkh explosion

    MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Four people were killed and 20 others wounded in a bomb explosion in northern Balkh province on Tuesday, officials said.

    Explosives placed in a gas cylinder in Alokozay Square in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, went off at 12 noon, a police officer told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The cyclist and two other civilians were killed and three others wounded in the blast, said the deputy police chief of the province, Abdul Rauf Taj.

    Ainullah, giving an eyewitness account, said he saw the bodies of four civilians at the site of the attack, possibly a suicide bombing.

    Afghan soldiers and police were also killed and wounded, he said, a claim rejected by local officials.

    Balkh Civil Hospital Director Dr. Ghausuddin Anwari confirmed receiving four bodies and 20 wounded people. The injured included two policemen, an Afghan soldier and 19 civilians, he added.

    Anwari said some of the wounded people were in critical condition. Soon after the blast, people started fleeing the city. The attack took place while the Shiites were taking out a procession

    Special arrangements have been put in place in most parts of the city to security security of the Shiite mourners, according to provincial officials.

    frm/mud