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Indonesia bomb leaves eight dead

BBC News

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Indonesia bomb leaves eight dead

At least eight people have been killed and 45 hurt by a bomb blast at a market in Indonesia ‘s Central Sulawesi province, police say.

Witnesses in the town of Palu reported seeing bodies lying on the ground after hearing a deafening blast.

The bomb exploded in the busy morning hours at a stall selling pork in a largely Christian part of the town.

The province’s Christians have been repeatedly targeted in recent attacks blamed on Muslim militants.

‘Bodies on the ground’

Police officials said the bomb was packed with nails and ball bearings.

“Most of the victims suffered injuries to their legs because of the shrapnel from the bomb,” a police spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Another explosive device was reportedly discovered and defused near the site of the explosion.

A witness quoted by the Associated Press news agency said: “The explosion was so loud, I couldn’t hear for a couple of seconds.”

“I ran out of my house and saw bodies lying around,” the witness said.

Bystanders carried bloodied shoppers from the makeshift market to a road, putting them in passing cars to be taken to hospital.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has condemned the attack.

Twelve people were reported to have been arrested in connection with the bomb blast.

Recent attacks

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation but the population in many parts of Central Sulawesi province is split equally between Muslims and Christians.

Security was tightened in the province recently amid fears of fresh violence between the two communities.

Three Christian schoolgirls were beheaded by masked assailants in Poso district in October.

Twenty people were killed in May this year when two bombs exploded in the largely Christian town of Tentena .

Almost 1,000 people died when inter-religious clashes flared in Central Sulawesi province in 2000 and 2001.