Explosion Kills 8 in Pakistan 02/23 06:15
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) -- Explosives in a building under construction ignited
Thursday, ripping through a market in an upscale neighborhood in the eastern
city of Lahore, killing eight people, officials said. It was not immediately
clear whether the explosives were meant to be a bomb or were merely stored in
The news came as a shock to many in this Islamic nation, where a string of
brazen attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 125 people.
The explosion was so powerful it shattered windows of nearby buildings and
damaged vehicles parked outside a market in the Defense Housing Authority, said
Rana Sanaullah, provincial law minister. He said nearly 30 people were wounded.
Hours after the blast, the provincial Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD)
said it found traces of explosives at scene.
Mohammad Iqbal, spokesman for the CTD, told reporters that investigators
were still trying to determine what was the purpose of storing explosive
material in the building, and whether it was an improvised explosive device or
remote control device.
Lahore police operations chief Haider Ashraf said the explosion took place
inside a building that was under construction and where laborers were working
at the time.
"Our focus at the moment is to rush the victims to hospitals and secure the
scene of crime," he said,
Earlier, live local TV footage showed smoke rising from a part of a
restaurant that was under construction. The explosion was so powerful it
littered the parking area outside the building with broken glass and debris.
Dust and smoke covered dozens of cars parked outside, their windscreens and
rear windows shattered.
The restaurant is located in a neighborhood called Defense Housing
Authority, which includes several marketplaces and shopping areas. The area is
under control of the military backed department --- a common practice across
Pakistan in better-off residential areas --- and housing is mainly given to
people working for the armed forces, though civilians can also buy plots and
Recent attacks across Pakistan have been claimed by an array of militant
groups, including the Islamic State group and a splinter Taliban faction, and
have prompted a countrywide crackdown on militants.
In just one bombing last week, which was claimed by IS and which targeted a
revered Sufi shrine packed with Muslim worshippers --- the majority of them
Shiites --- at least 90 people were killed.
Pakistan has been at war with the Taliban and allied Islamic militants who
want to destabilize the nuclear-armed country to install their own harsh
interpretation of Islam.