Explosion kills at least 26, injures dozens in Pakistan
Lahore, Pakistan - An explosion claimed by the Pakistani Taliban killed at least 26 people and injured dozens in a busy vegetable market in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday. The powerful blast blew out windows in nearby buildings.
“The explosion seems like a suicide blast targeting police, but we are still ascertaining the nature of the explosion,” the city’s commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbul said. He said at least 26 people had been killed and over 50 wounded.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the Lahore police, Syed Hammad Shah, also put the toll at 26 dead with over 50 injured.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan warned the toll could rise in a press conference held minutes after the attack.
Most of the casualties were police officers and some bystanders, he said.
Provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah also said the nature of the blast was not confirmed, but said it had appeared to target a vegetable market crowded with shoppers. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later claimed credit for the blast in a statement.
Lahore has been hit by significant militant attacks in Pakistan’s war on extremism, but they have been less frequent in recent years. The last major blast in the city was in March last year, when 75 were killed and hundreds injured in a bomb targeting Christians celebrating Easter Sunday in a park.
A bomb also killed 14 people in Lahore in February during a wave of attacks across the country. In April, seven were killed in an attack in the city targeting a team that was carrying out the country’s long overdue census.
Pakistan’s security has dramatically improved since the army cracked down on militancy in the wake of the country’s deadliest ever attack in 2014.
Pakistani security officials at the site of an explosion in Lahore on Monday