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Death toll from Karachi blast rises to 17

By Reza Sayah, CNN
A paramilitary soldier and volunteer help an injured man at a bomb blast site in Karachi on Thursday.
A paramilitary soldier and volunteer help an injured man at a bomb blast site in Karachi on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The number of wounded also rises, to 180
  • Gunfire clears the way for a suicide car bomb
  • The Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility
  • The blast occurred in a high-security area

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The death toll from a suicide car bomb attack on a police facility in Pakistan's largest city has risen to 17, police said.

The number of wounded in the attack -- which took place in the city of Karachi on Thursday -- has also risen to 180, said police official Javed Hussain.

Hussain said about 500 kg (1,100 lbs) of explosives was used in the attack.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told CNN that the Taliban carried out the attack, which police say targeted building that housed a Crime Investigation Department facility.

"We will continue such attacks as long as military operations continue against us," Tariq said. Pakistani security forces have been battling the group in the country's tribal region, which borders Afghanistan.

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The blast occurred in a high-security area, near government buildings and major hotels, such as the Pearl Continental and the Sheraton. The U.S. consulate is in the general vicinity but was not considered the target.

A Pakistani government official told CNN that about five gunmen on foot cleared the way for the suicide car bomber by firing on security personnel manning a security check post.

The official said that once the vehicle cleared the check post it raced toward the police facility and rammed into the building.

The official, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, doesn't know the whereabouts of the gunmen.

Local TV showed footage of a three- or four-story building with significant damage and ambulances rushing the injured from the scene.