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Blast wounds U.K. ambassador to Bangladesh

One man was killed on Friday and nearly 50 people injured, among them Britain's ambassador to Bangladesh, when a powerful bomb exploded at a shrine to a Muslim saint in the town of Sylhet.
/ Source: Reuters

One man was killed on Friday and nearly 50 people injured, among them Britain's ambassador to Bangladesh, when a powerful bomb exploded at a shrine to a Muslim saint in the town of Sylhet.

British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury and his bodyguard were participating in noon prayers at the Hazrat Shahjalal shrine in the northeastern town when the bomb went off, a police officer told Reuters by telephone.

It was the second blast at the shrine this year, following an explosion in January that killed three people. District officials said they had no immediate idea who caused Friday's blast.

"This is a hell of a scene with dozens of injured lying in the emergency ward and on the corridors," said a reporter at the nearby Sylhet Medical College Hospital.

About 50 injured people were taken to the hospital, said Doctor Abdus Salam, in the hospital's emergency ward.

"The high commissioner is being treated for splinters in his legs below the knees but his condition is not serious," Salam told Reuters.

Police and reporters said one person had died on the way to the hospital.

Police said they believed the bomb had been carried in by someone attending the prayers. But a shrine official said the bomb might have been thrown into the compound from outside.

Choudhury, who took up his post in Bangladesh only last week, is a British citizen of Bangladeshi descent. His family hails from Sunamganj, a district neighboring Sylhet.

A High Commission press officer accompanying Choudhury also confirmed that the envoy had been slightly injured.

The High Commission is closed for the Friday holiday.

Investigations into the January blast at the shrine, which also injured about 50 people, have yet to be completed.