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Pakistan: At least 69 dead after suicide attack in Lahore park

Sunday 27 March 2016, by siawi3

Source: | Reuters

Imran Gabol — Updated 31 minutes ago

LAHORE: At least 69 people were killed in a suicide attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park of Iqbal Town on Sunday evening, rescue sources said. Hospital sources added that over 250 were injured.

The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar.

Iqbal Town Superintendent Police Dr Muhammad Iqbal confirmed this was a suicide attack that took place at a children’s park, where a large number of families, especially women and children, were present.

The area is a renowned residential area of Lahore. The blast was just outside the exit gate and a few feet (metres) away from the children’s swings.

DCO Captain (Retd) Muhammad Usman said the head of the suicide bomber was recovered. Ball bearings were also found at the site.

Photo: A child is rushed from the blast site - screen grab

Eye witnesses said there were pools of blood and scattered body parts spread across the site of the attack.

"We took the injured to hospitals on rickshaws and taxis," one eye witness said.

He added that the crowd was "unusually large" because of Easter.

"The roads were also jammed and queues of vehicles could be seen till Moon Market."

Photo: Screen grab from outside the hospital

’No security’

Many eyewitnesses said there was no security present in and around the park.

An eye witness, talking to DawnNews, said:

"The park is huge and has many entrance gates. There were almost no security personnel present there."

A Rescue 1122 spokesman confirmed that an emergency call was received at around 6:44pm and that over 20 ambulances had been sent to the site at the time.

An emergency was declared at all government hospitals in the city.

The Punjab government has announced three days of mourning.

Gen Raheel chairs military huddle after blast

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif chaired a high-level meeting late Sunday night, which was attended by heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) among other military officials, said Lt Gen Asim Bajwa on Twitter.

The army chief ordered concerned commanders and intelligence officials to immediately start operations to nab perpetrators of the attack, said Bajwa.

Gen Raheel said these “inhumane savages will not be allowed to overrun our life and liberty.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also chaired a meeting at the PM House where he was briefed by his security advisers on the Lahore attack, said a statement released from his office.

Modi calls Nawaz, condemns Lahore attack

Indian premier Narendra Modi telephoned PM Nawaz after the Lahore blast that killed at least 65, and expressed his condolences.

Terming the attack as cowardly for targeting women and children, Modi underlined the need for ‘uncompromising efforts’ to fight terror.

Premier Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast and directed authorities to ensure ’’special medical care" to the injured.

"My children, brothers and sisters have been targeted in this attack," Nawaz said in a statement.