At least 25 people were killed and 39 others were injured in a suicide blast near Lahore’s Arfa Karim IT Tower on Monday. Among those killed, at least eight have been identified as policemen belonging to the anti-riot police division.
“Police and Lahore Development Authority officials were busy in removing encroachments outside the Arfa Karim Tower, located near the CM’s Model Town residence, when a powerful blast took place,” Rescue 1122 Deeba Shahnaz told news agency PTI.
The office of Punjab chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif, is reportedly located within the vicinity of the blast radius. “No words can express the grief which grips my heart right now. Blast destroyed many families, but terrorists can never destroy our resolve. Our blood was spilt on the street but I swear to my Allah that the blood of our innocent martyrs will write end of these cowardly assassins!” Sharif wrote on Twitter.
At the time of the blast, anti-riot police were deployed in the area to over see an anti-encroachment drive. Six policemen were also injured in the blast. Rescue teams shifted the injured to nearby hospitals. The area of the blast has been cordoned off by law enforcement personnel.
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) July 24, 2017
Lahore police chief Capt (R) Amin Wains confirmed that it was a suicide blast and the “target was police”. Citing police sources, the Geo News reported that a suicide attacker targeted police personnel deployed at the site.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast. Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, has witnessed several terror attacks in recent years. In April, six persons were killed and 15 others injured when a suicide bomber targeted a population census team in Lahore’s Bedian Road. In February, a suicide bomber killed 14 people, including senior police officers, near the Punjab Assembly here.
with PTI inputs