Nepal increases security after series of rebel attacks

Nepal's government stepped up security around a central town where a powerful bomb at a busy market wounded a dozen people just hours before King Gyanendra arrived on vacation, officials said Tuesday.

Monday's explosion at the resort town of Pokhara , about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Katmandu , left 12 people injured. Authorities said communist rebels were to blame.

On Tuesday, policemen checked motorists and pedestrians in the tense main market area and at major intersections in the city.

Yograj Poudel, the chief government official at Pokhara, said security was tightened and a search was being conducted to locate those responsible for the blast.

Police officials said they believed the rebels were targeting an army truck when they detonated the bomb at the busy market. However, the blast wounded only pedestrians and vendors.

Just two hours after the blast, King Gyanendra arrived for vacation at Pokhara on Monday. He was staying at a fortified vacation home on the banks of Phewa lake.

The forested area near the lake has been secured by the army.

In the rest of the Himalayan kingdom, security has also been heightened following the attacks.

Rebel attacks and fighting have escalated in the past few weeks since the guerrillas withdrew from a unilateral cease-fire in early January.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have fought for a decade to establish a socialist state in Nepal . The insurgency has claimed nearly 13,000 lives, reports the AP.


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