Bomb blasts in Bangladesh

At least 12 people have been killed and 100 wounded in a bomb attack on an opposition rally in Bangladesh's capital, police and witnesses say.

Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed had been addressing the crowd and her Awami League party said the blasts, possibly caused by grenades, were an assassination attempt on her. She escaped with minor injuries.

The attack was the latest in a series in impoverished Bangladesh and the second deadly blast this month against the Awami League. A party leader was killed in the northeastern town of Sylhet two weeks ago.

"After one blast, I was lying in the street. Then, I heard seven or eight more blasts and something hit me in the head and I fainted," said an Awami League worker with a bandaged head after the Dhaka attack, giving his name only as Gaisuddin, writes Swiss Info.

Reuters reporters at a government hospital where the injured were taken counted nine dead bodies from the blast site, including two women, lying in the hospital.

Opposition leaders and news organizations, including state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangtha (BSS) news agency, said at least three more people had died in the attack on the public meeting outside Sheikh Hasina's headquarters.

Police said at least 100 people were injured, including 17 policemen and one seriously hurt senior Awami League official.

The Awami League, which has staged strikes since February in its effort to remove Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and force early general elections, has in the past accused the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of "pre-planned murders of opposition leaders and activists."

The BNP has rejected the allegation. The Awami League called for a two-day national strike on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest against the bomb attack, informs Reuters.

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