World Neighbours 28 Mar 2016 Lahore: Suicide bomb ...

Lahore: Suicide bomber targeting Christians kills 72 in children’s park

AGENCIES
Published Mar 28, 2016, 7:43 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2016, 11:45 am IST
A spokesperson for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, said that the suicide bomber deliberately targeted the Christian community.
Pakistani rescue workers remove dead body from the site of bomb blast in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)
 Pakistani rescue workers remove dead body from the site of bomb blast in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)

Lahore: A breakaway Pakistani faction of the militant Taliban group has claimed responsibility for an Easter Sunday bombing in a park in the eastern city of Lahore that killed at least 72 people.

Read: Pakistan launches manhunt for terrorists behind Lahore blast

 

Ahsanullah Ahsan, spokesperson for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, said that a suicide bomber with the faction deliberately targeted the Christian community.

Read: We’ve entered Lahore: Militants’ message to Pak PM after suicide attack

The explosion took place near the children’s rides in Gulshan-e-Iqbal park — which was crowded with Christians celebrating Easter —local police chief Haider Ashraf said. He said the explosion appeared to have been a suicide bombing, but investigations were ongoing.

Pakistani rescue workers remove a dead body from the site of bomb explosion in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)Pakistani rescue workers remove a dead body from the site of bomb explosion in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)

 

The explosion killed 72 people and wounded over 300, said Deeba Shahnaz, a spokesperson for Lahore rescue administration.

Read: Breakaway fraction of Pakistani Taliban claims Easter park bombing

Punjab’s chief minister Shahbaz Sharif announced three days of mourning and pledged to bring the perpetrators to justice, said Zaeem Qadri, a spokesman for the provincial government.

Pakistani police officers stand guard at the site of a bomb blast in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)Pakistani police officers stand guard at the site of a bomb blast in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)

 

The park was manned by police and private security guards, police chief Haider Ashraf said. “We are in a warlike situation and there is always a general threat but no specific threat alert was received for this place,” he added.

Read: Facebook apologises for safety check glitch after Pakistan blast

Salman Rafiq, a health adviser to the Punjab government, called on people to donate blood, saying that many of those wounded were in a critical condition.

One witness, who wished to be identified only by his first name, Afzal, told AP that he had taken 20 children to hospital and carried 3 dead bodies to a police car. “I can’t explain to you the tragic situation,” he said.

 

Another witness, Tariq Mustapha, said that he had just left the park when he heard an explosion. He said his friend was still missing.

A woman injured in the bomb blast is comforted by a family member at a local hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)A woman injured in the bomb blast is comforted by a family member at a local hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)

Footage broadcast on local television stations showed chaotic scenes in the park, with people running while carrying children and cradling the wounded in their laps.

 

Read: UN's Ban Ki-moon condemns 'appalling' Pakistan bombing

A witness, not identified by name on Pakistan’s Geo TV station, said he was heading toward a fairground ride with his wife and two children when he heard a huge bang and all four of them were thrown to the floor. A woman was shown crying while looking desperately for her missing five-year-old son.

A woman weeps for her injured family members as she tries to speak to security at a local hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)A woman weeps for her injured family members as she tries to speak to security at a local hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March, 27, 2016. A bomb blast in a park in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed tens of people and wounded scores, a health official said. (Photo: AP)

 

A spokesman for the US National Security Council said that the United States “condemns the attack in the strongest terms,” describing it as a “cowardly act in what has long been a scenic and placid park.” Ned Price said the US would continue to work with Pakistan and its partners to “root out the scourge of terrorism.”

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