several cops among 26 dead in taleban
Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Several cops among 26 dead in Taleban

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Several cops among 26 dead in Taleban

Security officials inspect the site after the explosion in Lahore
Abu Dhabi - Emirates Voice

A suicide bomber struck near a police team in the eastern city of Lahore on Monday killing at least 26 and wounding another 54, many of them police officers, an official said.

Senior police officer Haider Ashraf said a suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck near police guarding a demolition site at Kot Lakhpat's vegetable market on the outskirts of Lahore.

Ashraf said it was believed earlier that the bomb was in a car, but it was later discovered that the vehicle belonged to a police officer, among the eight officers killed.

He said many of 35 wounded are policemen and several bystanders were wounded by the impact of the powerful blast. Ashraf added that near the blast site a high rise building houses important information technology offices but the apparent target was the police gathering.

The outlawed militant group Tehrik-e-Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack, confirming they used a suicide bomber on a motorcycle.  The city's commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbul said the blast targeted police.

A spokesman for Lahore police, Syed Hammad Shah, put the toll at 25 dead with 40 injured. Senior local administration official Sumair Ahmad Syed confirmed the death toll, though he put the number of injured at 35.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a Press conference held minutes after the blast that most of the casualties were police officers, but was unable to confirm the nature of the explosion.

The area was busy with police at the time because officers had been sent to the market to clear stalls that had illegally spilt onto the road.

Provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah said the blast had appeared to target the vegetable market, which was crowded with shoppers.

Eyewitness Sher Dil, who works at an office close to the site of the explosion, said it blew out the windows of his office building.

"I was in my office when it all happened. It was a deafening blast, which shook the entire Arfa Karim Towers," Sher Dil said.

Pakistan's president, prime minister and army chief all issued statements expressing condolences for the loss of life.

Lahore has been hit by significant militant attacks in Pakistan's more than decade-long 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. But the country was hit by a wave of attacks in February this year, including a bomb that killed 14 people in Lahore.

In April a further seven were killed in an attack in the city targeting a team that was carrying out the country's long overdue census.

After years of spiralling insecurity, the powerful army launched a crackdown on militancy in the wake of a brutal attack on a school in late 2014. More than 150 people, most of them children, died in the Taleban-led assault in Peshawar - the country's deadliest ever single attack.

It shook a country already grimly accustomed to atrocities and prompted the military to step up an operation in the tribal areas, where militants had previously operated with impunity.

Explosions caused by gas cylinders - which are used for cooking as well as in cars - are also common in Pakistan. A blast in Lahore in February was initially thought to be a militant attack, but turned out to be a gas explosion.

Officials have since been cautious about prematurely confirming the nature of explosions.

Lahore bears the brunt of war on terrorism

> 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.

> The country was hit by a wave of attacks in February this year, including a bomb that killed 14 people in Lahore.

> In April a further seven were killed in an attack in the city targeting a team that was carrying out the country's census.

> More than 150 people, most of them children, died in the Taleban-led assault in Peshawar - the country's deadliest ever single attack.

> It shook the country already grimly accustomed to atrocities and prompted the military to step up an operation in the tribal areas, where militants had previously operated with impunity.

Source: Khaleej Times

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