Pakistan marks grim Eid after oil tanker inferno kills 153

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BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan: Pakistan began Eid in mourning Monday as the death toll in an oil tanker explosion rose to 153, with scores injured after they were caught in a fireball while scooping up spilled fuel. Dozens of relatives were waiting outside hospitals in Bahawalpur, the nearest major city, to claim the bodies of their loved ones as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived early Monday to visit victims after cutting short a visit to London. The explosion ignited early Sunday as crowds ignored warnings to stay away from the tanker which had overturned on a main highway from Karachi to Lahore, spilling some 40,000 liters of fuel. The accident quickly drew scores of people from a nearby village, many armed with whatever containers they could carry to scavenge the spilled fuel despite warnings from the driver. Minutes later the tanker exploded, engulfing the crowd as well as dozens of other vehicles in a massive fireball that sent a plume of thick smoke into the sky.

AFP

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