LAHORE, Dec 7: The blasts, which took place within a radius of 30 metre, also caused a massive fire in a crowded shopping mall. The blasts knocked out electricity supply.
Monday’s strike was the second terrorist attack in Iqbal Town. On August 13, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the same market, killing nine people, including two children.
Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervaiz told reporters that the death toll could rise as fire-fighters struggled to put out the blaze to rescue the trapped people till late in the night.
Rescue teams retrieved several charred bodies from the building. A number of the injured people taken to different city hospitals were said to be in a critical condition.
According to police, the first blast took place outside a bank and the other near a police station. People ran for their lives as the two blasts took place within a few seconds at about 8.45pm.
SSP (operations) Chaudhry Shafique Ahmed told Dawn that the first blast had been carried out by a suicide bomber.
The Iqbal Town SP said police had recovered some body parts, including the head and legs of the suspected bomber. He said police had also seized a damaged motorcycle allegedly used for planting a time device.
However, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and senior officials insisted that the blasts could have been triggered remotely.
The commissioner blamed India for the blasts. But the law minister said that militants from Waziristan were involved.
A number of shops in the market were destroyed and windowpanes of nearby buildings and houses shattered. Dozens of cars and motorcycles were damaged.
Most people falling prey to the bloody attacks were either shopping or dining out at the time of the incident.
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