Blast in south Afghanistan kills four police

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KABUL, Oct 12 (Reuters) An explosion killed four policemen and wounded four more and 10 civilians in a bazaar in southern Afghanistan on Friday, a British military spokesman said.

He said the blast happened in a bazaar close to a mosque in the town of Gereshk in the restive province of Helmand.

It came on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday when many worshippers gather to pray in mosques to mark the end of Ramadan.

British forces in Helmand were preparing to airlift the wounded police by helicopter to a military hospital, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Eaton said.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Taliban insurgents have carried out more than 100 suicide bombings this year in recent months killing more than 200 people.

Mainly British troops are engaged in almost daily battles with Taliban fighters for control of Helmand, a large desert area with a ribbon of fertile land along the banks of the river where most of Afghanistan's opium is produced.

REUTERS NY KN1417

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