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Author Topic: Suicide bomber attacks Lahore police building  (Read 502 times)
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« on: Mar 10, 2010 05:51 PM »


Suicide bomber attacks Lahore police building

Blast in eastern Pakistani city far from Afghan border kills at least 11 and injures scores more

A suicide car bomber has struck at a building where police interrogate high-value suspects in Lahore in eastern Pakistan, killing at least 11 people and wounding scores more, including women and children heading to school, officials said today .

The attack broke what had been a relative lull in major violence in Pakistan. It also showed that insurgents retain the ability to strike the country's heartland, far from the Afghan border regions where al-Qaida and the Taliban thrive despite army offensives aimed at wiping them out.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but suspicion immediately fell on the Pakistani Taliban and allied militant groups. Those groups are believed to be responsible for a wave of attacks that started in October and has killed more than 600 people. Several of the earlier attacks took place in major Pakistani cities. More recent ones have been smaller and confined to remote north-western regions near Afghanistan.

The bomb blast today comes amid reports of a Pakistani crackdown on Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida operatives. Among the militants said to have been arrested in that operation is the Afghan Taliban's second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The explosion went off outside a police building in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab province, a police official said. TV footage showed a huge crater in the ground.

Lahore's police chief, Pervez Rathore, said: "This place was used to interrogate important suspects... more then 40 staff were manning the place." No such suspect had been in the building at the time of the bombing, he said.

Noorul Huda, a student at a nearby religious school, was in his first class when the blast happened, he told TV reporters.

"With the huge bang, blocks and pieces of the roof fell upon us and six of us were wounded," said the young man, who suffered a head injury. "It was total chaos outside and people were running and crying for help."

Khusro Pervez, a Lahore government official, said 11 people had died and several of the wounded were in critical condition. The suicide bomber appeared to have rammed his explosives-laden car into the perimeter wall.

A hospital official, Jawed Akram, said the dead included at least one woman and a young girl, apparently part of a group heading to a school. Several women were wounded, Pervez said.

"People are coming with multiple wounds, many with head injuries and broken limbs."

Parts of the brick building appeared to have collapsed, and there were piles of bricks and metal everywhere at the site, the footage showed. Other nearby buildings, including a mosque, were damaged. Militant attacks in Pakistan frequently target the security forces, though civilian targets have not escaped. During the wave of attacks that began in October, and coincided with a major army ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in the South Waziristan tribal area, Lahore was hit several times.

In mid-October, three groups of gunmen attacked three separate security facilities in the city, 28 leaving 28 people dead. Two co-ordinated suicide bombings at a market in Lahore a few weeks later killed nearly 50 people.

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