Karachi blast kills dozens
No claim of responsibility for explosion during celebration in park
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(CNN) -- An explosion at a celebration of Prophet Mohammed's birthday has killed at least 42 people and sparked a confrontation between Muslims and Karachi police, according to Pakistan's interior minister and local media reports.
Pakistan's military has been placed on high alert.
No claims of responsibility were made after Tuesday's blast. Sectarian violence between Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims has killed hundreds in Pakistan, and Karachi in particular, over the past two decades.
The explosion, which happened shortly before 5 p.m. (1200 GMT) at Nishtar Park in the southern port city of Karachi, ripped through a stage set up by Jumaat Ahle Summat, a predominantly Sunni group, Pakistani media reported.
Speaking on Pakistani television on Tuesday, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Shairpao said 42 people were killed and 100 were injured in the blast, but the number is expected to rise. Other media reported 70 killed.
Several thousand people were at the rally when the blast occurred during a break for prayer. After the explosion, people at the rally protested and confronted police on the scene.
Protesters set off petrol bombs, destroying two vehicles, including one belonging to the fire department, according to media reports.
Television pictures showed bodies on the ground and wounded being taken to hospitals in vans after the blast, according to Reuters.
"What we know at this point is that there was a blast ... and that there are some injured who are being taken to the hospitals," Jehangir Mirza, police inspector general for Sindh province, told the news agency.
"I cannot tell the number of those injured at the moment."
It is the second deadly incident in Karachi to take place during celebrations for the Muslim prophet's birthday.
On Sunday about 30 people were killed in a stampede at a mosque where people had gathered to mark the anniversary of Prophet Mohammed's birth, according to local reports.
In February, at least 40 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a Shiite procession in the town of Hangu in the country's North West Frontier Province.
Journalist Salim Bokhari in Lahore, Pakistan, contributed to this report.
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