Two people have been killed and at least 12 injured in an explosion at a Catholic church in Nepal.

The blast, south of the capital Kathmandu, came as the country's parliament prepares to elect a new prime minister. Police cordoned off the area, which was strewn with shattered window panes.

No group has said it carried out the attack but police suspect the involvement of a Hindu extremist group, the Nepal Defence Army. The little-known organisation says it wants to restore Nepal's Hindu monarchy.

Police say the explosion took place during mass at the Church of the Assumption in Lalitpur.

The attack came just hours before parliament prepared to elect a new prime minister following the resignation of Maoist leader Prachanda earlier this month. He stood down after his attempt to dismiss the army chief was blocked by the president.