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Lahore burns as suicide blast leaves nine dead

LAHORE: At least nine people including five policemen were killed and 35 others injured in a suicide attack near a police check post in Raiwind on Wednesday.
“Police appears to be the target,” Lahore DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf told Daily Times. He confirmed that it was a suicide blast and that the bomber rammed his motorcycle into a police check post located on the road leading to the ground where annual congregation of Tableeghi Jamaat is held. He said that body parts of the suspected suicide bomber have been recovered from the blast site.
According to Rescue 1122, at least nine bodies were taken to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Raiwind. Sub Inspector Aslam, Sub Inspector Saeed, constables Tanveer, Akram and Amir Afridi, a passerby and three unidentified people are among those killed in the bombing. The bodies were later shifted to the Lahore General Hospital.
ASP Raiwind Zahid Nazir, SHO Raiwind Asim, SHO Nawab Town, SHO Chung, Sub Inspector Amin, Sub Inspector Manzoor, constables Hamamd, Naeem, Akram, Saeed, Israr, Javed, Farooq, Sabir, Abid, Babar Hayat, Akram and Karamt got injured in the attack and are under treatment at the Sharif Medical Complex, THQ Raiwind and the Jinnah Hospital.
The death toll could increase as several of the injured are stated to be in critical condition.
The explosion led to a fire that engulfed cars and bikes parked nearby. Security forces cordoned off the area and started search operation after the blast, as forensic experts started collecting evidences from the site. Security was beefed up at all important places, government and private buildings and entry and exit points of the city.
Emergency was declared at several public hospitals after the blast and presence of doctors, nurses and paramedical staffs was ensured to provide timely treatment to the injured persons. The administration also ensured provision of life-saving drugs, blood and other equipment in the emergency wards of public hospitals.
The police camp had been set up for the security of the annual congregation of Tableeghi Jamaat. More than 5,000 police official performed security as well as traffic duty for the annual congregation where the participants are allowed to enter only after a comprehensive checking.
According to the rescue officials, a caller who initially informed them about the incident reported that it was a cylinder blast. However, the impact and sound of the blast suggested that it was a terrorist attack.
Banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, in a whatsapp message said to have been sent to Reuters reporters.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast and sought a report from the inspector general of police (IGP). The chief minister expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives including police officials in the blast. He paid homage to the martyrs for their sacrifices and extended sympathies to the bereaved families. He directed the administration to provide the best possible treatment facilities to the injured police officials and other people. “The more this incident of terrorism is condemned, the less it would be. Martyrs are our heroes and their sacrifices will not go waste. Terrorists and their facilitators will be taken to task,” he said, according to a statement issued by his office.
Meanwhile, IGP Captain (r)Arif Nawaz Khan has declared a security high alert in the province, instructing CCPO Lahore and all RPOs and DPOs in the province to strengthen security in their respective regions and districts.

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