Deadly explosion rocks Pakistani city of Lahore

An explosion has killed at least 25 people and wounded 53 others in Pakistan’s eastern city, officials said.

Monday’s blast wrought carnage near the Lahore Technology Park on Ferozepur Road in Lahore, targeting police officials who were deployed to clear street vendors from the area, a police official said.

“There was a police picket that was targeted. We are collecting evidence, and it could be a suicide attack … right now we can confirm 12 people have been killed, including policemen and civilians.” Haider Ashraf, a senior police official, said while speaking to media at the scene.

Police officials who were assisting in a drive to clear unauthorised construction and temporary vendors from the roadside appeared to be the target of the attack, said Rana Sanaullah, the provincial law minister.

A spokesman for the Punjab provincial government said authorities were trying to establish the cause of the explosion.

“Right now our total focus is on the people and families who are facing this terrible incident. This needs to be investigated whether this is a terrorist act, or an accident, or if something has exploded,” said Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan’s interior minister, at a press conference in Islamabad.

Television footage showed a vehicle badly damaged by the blast, and dozens of police officials cordoning off the area, as well as ambulances at the scene.

In April, at least six people were killed when a vehicle carrying government census workers was targeted by a suicide attack in Lahore.

In February, at least 13 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted police posted at a protest demonstration in the heart of Lahore.

In 2016, Lahore suffered one of Pakistan’s deadliest assaults when a suicide attack in a park killed more than  70 people, including many children.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, which claimed that attack, said it was targeting members of Pakistan’s Christian minority who had gathered there to celebrate Easter Sunday.

 

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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