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France condemns Karachi bus bomb

Michele Alliot-Marie, France's newly-appointed defence minister. is heading to Pakistan
Michele Alliot-Marie, France's newly-appointed defence minister. is heading to Pakistan  

PARIS, France -- Eleven French nationals have been killed in the Karachi bomb attack, the French Foreign Ministry has confirmed.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said the victims worked for the department of naval construction, attached to the Defence Ministry, and were working on the maintenance of Pakistan navy submarines.

The ministry official said French authorities were trying to obtain more details on the attack as well as the names of the victims. Twelve French nations were also among the 18 wounded in the blast. (Bombing full story)

France's new government faces an immediate test in the deaths of French naval workers in Karachi, Pakistan. CNN's Rym Brahimi reports (May 8)

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Michele Alliot-Marie, who was named as France's first woman defence minister in the interim Cabinet announced on Tuesday, was scheduled to fly to Karachi, the government source said.

The victims were part of a team working for the department of naval construction (DCN), attached to the Defence Ministry, and were providing technical assistance on the construction of two Pakistani navy submarines.

Many of the department's staff are from the northern port town of Cherbourg, where the local government office set up a hotline for relatives.

DCN Director Laurent Barthelemy said that more than 20 of the department's total team of 40 in Karachi were on the bus at the time of the attack.

"We know there are 10 dead and at least 10 severely injured," he told a news conference in Cherbourg on Wednesday.

"We have a list of those who were unhurt. They are now under Pakistani protection."

President Jacques Chirac condemned the bombing, which also killed two Pakistanis, as "vile."

"The president of the Republic learned with dismay about the bombing last night that caused several French victims in Karachi," a statement issued by Chirac's office said.

"He condemns without reserve this vile act, which nothing can justify."

Chirac expressed his condolences for the families of the victims.

"The President of the Republic calls on the Pakistani authorities to take the necessary security measures towards the French community and to do everything in their power to find and punish the authors of this terrorist act," his statement said.




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