Tenth bomb this month rips Pakistan

2017-02-23 22:12
Pakistani security officials examine the site after a bomb attack in Lahore, the tenth attack in just under a fortnight. (Arif Ali, AFP)

Pakistani security officials examine the site after a bomb attack in Lahore, the tenth attack in just under a fortnight. (Arif Ali, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lahore - At least eight people were killed and 28 injured after a bomb ripped through Pakistan's Lahore Thursday, officials said, the tenth attack in just under a fortnight pointing to a resurgence in Islamist violence.

The blast, the second to hit the provincial capital this month, crumpled cars and sent panic rippling through the city after the wave of attacks across Pakistan killed more than 130 people.

"My God, my God, I saw so many bodies," said Imtiaz Ali, a barber in a Tony & Guy hair salon opposite the blast site in the posh Defence Housing Authority suburb of the city, replete with upscale boutiques and cafes.

The building where the bomb went off was under construction in a market crowded with people, including children, the 34-year-old told AFP.

"When I came out I first just saw smoke and dust... Bikes upturned. Cars destroyed. My own colleague's car windows blown out. My clients' cars blown out. I was close to fainting."

Police and administration officials confirmed it was a bomb attack, as the provincial health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique and rescuers supplied the casualty toll.

"Four people died on the spot while another four died of their wounds in the hospital," Rafique said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Just over an hour later rumours of a second blast in another affluent area nearby sent ambulances racing to the scene, though authorities later said the reports were false.

Panic also spread on social media as citizens exchanged messages purporting to be warnings from intelligence agencies, including one that falsely stated a general curfew had been ordered over Lahore with shoot-on-sight orders.

'Baiting' militants

The rumours underscored growing nervousness across the country as a series of assaults shook Pakistanis emboldened by what had been a prolonged lull in violence.

The attacks included a previous bomb in Lahore on February 13 which killed 14 people, and a devastating suicide blast at a Sufi shrine in Sindh province that left 90 devotees dead.

The incidents, most of which were claimed by the Islamic State group or the Pakistani Taliban, have dented optimism after the country appeared to be making strong gains in its decade-and-a-half long war on militancy.

"After some relief over the last year or two, it's turmoil again, it's very troublesome," Asha'ar Rehman, the Lahore editor of leading daily Dawn told AFP.

Islamabad launched a crackdown in the wake of the attacks, saying it has killed dozens of "terrorists" in recent days and carried out airstrikes on militant hideouts along the Afghan border.

On Wednesday the military announced a nationwide anti-terrorist operation, which defence analyst and retired general Talat Masood told AFP would "target sanctuaries... of militants in Punjab province and restrict their movements".

Pakistan had vowed to hold the final of its hugely popular Pakistan Super League in Lahore next month despite the surge in violence, promising "head of state level" security for foreign players taking part.

Rehman said such vows may have amounted to "baiting" militants.

"There are so many who feel that it invites the wrath of militants unnecessarily," he said.

The city, Pakistan's second largest metropolis, was also the scene of an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in 2009. Pakistan has not hosted high-level visiting teams since then.

Much of the uptick in security across the country over the past two years has been credited to an earlier military operation targeting militants in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan has accused Afghanistan of harbouring the militants who have carried out the most recent attacks. Kabul and Islamabad routinely accuse one another of giving militants safe haven.

Read more on:    pakistan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.