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Morning blasts rip Kathmandu

Kathmandu, Dec. 2 (Reuters): Two bomb blasts ripped through the Nepali capital roday, damaging buildings including the election office, but no one was hurt, police said.

Officials blamed Maoists for the pre-dawn bombs, but the guerrillas who are fighting to topple the constitutional monarchy denied any involvement.

The blasts came a week after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba set a January 13 deadline for the insurgents to join peace talks, failing which Kathmandu would proceed with general elections, long delayed due to rebel violence.

The rebels, fighting to replace Nepal's monarchy with communist rule, have rejected the deadline.

The first blast occurred at the home of former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's daughter, blowing a crater in the garden and shattering window panes of the red brick house in an upmarket area of the temple-studded capital.

A second explosion hit the Election Commission office in the suburb of Patan, breaking windows and doors of the building. 'I heard a big explosion while I was sleeping on the top floor,' Binod Pokharel, a district election official who was in the three-storey building, said. 'Glass pieces fell on my quilt but I was not hurt.' Nepali authorities blamed the Maoist guerrillas even though no claims of responsibility had been received. 'The modus operandi in the blasts was the same as used by the Maoists. Who else could do it' said an interior ministry spokesman.

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