Tuesday Aug 08 2017

At least one killed, 33 injured in Lahore explosion


LAHORE: At least one person was killed and 33 were left wounded in an explosion that took place Monday evening here at Sagian Bridge near the Bund Road area in what authorities say was a truck carrying fruits.

A body was found in the debris of a nearby house impacted by the explosion, rescue officials said. The deceased was identified as Amanat Ali, police said, adding that he is said to have been the resident of Kāmoke.

The number of injured was confirmed by the rescue sources. 22 of the wounded were initially brought in to MS Munshi hospital, of which 10 were discharged after being administered first aid, the facility said.

Pakistani security officials inspect the site of an explosion on August 7, 2017, in Lahore. AFP/Arif Ali

Jam Sajjad Hussain – a rescue service spokesman – told AFP that at least three of the injured were in a critical condition.

Hospital sources added that 10 of the wounded were under treatment at the time, whereas two were referred to Mayo hospital for further treatment.

Sources revealed that the truck is suspected to have been coming from Swat and had explosives concealed in the fruit crates stacked inside.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

The truck was completely destroyed in the blast. Several vehicles in the area were also damaged due to the intensity of the explosion, Hussain said.

Three-storey building floored

A large contingent of security forces personnel reached the site of the incident following the explosion and cordoned off the area. Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) officials also commenced an area-wide search to ensure no additional explosive material(s) remained.

The wreckage of the truck. GEO NEWS

According to the city's Superintendent of Police (SP), the explosion took place in a truck loaded with fruits. 

The police official added that it is suspected that the truck contained explosive material.

"The explosive material was planted inside a truck, which was loaded with fruit," Abdullah Khan Sumbal, a top government official in Lahore, told AFP.

Sumbal noted that "most of [the wounded] were passer-bys", adding that authorities have now launched an investigation to determine how and when the truck arrived in the area.

A nearby three-storeyed building collapsed due to the intensity of the explosion. Rai Ijaz, a senior police officer at the site, told reporters that the explosion created a big crater.

In addition, the area's power supply – that comes from Sagian Grid – was cut off after the blast.

Prior blasts in Lahore

Monday's blast is the latest one to rattle the eastern city of Lahore,  coming weeks after a bombing claimed by the Pakistani Taliban killed at least 26 people and injured dozens at a vegetable market in the provincial capital's Ferozepur area.

The suicide attacker had targetted a group of policemen.

Rescue personnel carry a girl rescued from a collapsed building after a blast in Lahore, Pakistan, August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza   

In April, six people were martyred and 15 others wounded when a suicide bomber targeted a population census team in Lahore's Bedian Road.

In February, a suicide bomber martyred 14 people, including senior police officers, when a suicide bomber hit close to the Punjab Assembly in Lahore when hundreds of demonstrators had gathered for a protest.

The city of around six million has been hit by significant militant attacks in Pakistan's over a decade-long war on extremism, but they have been less frequent in recent years.

Four terrorists dead in encounter

Four terrorists were killed in an unrelated police encounter near Sagian late Monday night, a spokesperson for the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) said.

The spokesperson mentioned that six to seven terrorists had tried to enter the city. He added that explosive materials and weapons were recovered from the deceased terrorists.