At least 65 dead, 300 wounded in Lahore suicide attack
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Sixty-five people were killed and 300 others wounded in a massive suicide bombing in Pakistan’s central province of Punjab on Sunday evening, hospital sources said.
The bombing, claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar group of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), happened in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park of Iqbal Town, a crowded residential area of Lahore.
Superintendent of Police Dr. Muhammad Iqbal said the attack took place outside the exit and a few metres from children's swings. A large number of families, especially women and children, were in the park at the time of the explosion.
Captain (R) Muhammad Usman, area administrator, said the suicide bomber’s head had been found at the site, littered with blood and body parts. More than 20 ambulances rushed to the scene to evacuate casualties.
Soon after the bombing, an emergency was declared at all government hospitals in the city, according to the state-run TV. The Punjab government announced three days of mourning.
Dr. Ashraf, a medical superintendent at Jinnah Hospital, said more than 40 dead bodies had been brought to hospital. Another medic put the number of the injured people at 300. Most of them are said to be in critical condition.
Meanwhile, the United States and India denounced the attack as a cowardly act. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement the US would work with Pakistan to eradicate terrorism.
Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also voiced his grief over the bomb blast. In a telephone call to Nawaz Sharif, he said: “The coward terrorists attacked children and women … We are with Pakistani nation at the time of this grief.”
“We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter,” Jamaatul Ahrar spokesman Ehansullah Ehsan told media outlets over the telephone. “It was part of the annual martyrdom attacks we have started this year.”
Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif, chairing a high-level meeting after the attack, directed the authorities concerned to find linkages and perpetrators of the blast at the earliest. Heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) and other military officials were in attendance.
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