At least 65 people have been killed, and another 280 wounded, following a suicide bombing, at a public park, in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
A suicide bomber killed at least 65 people and injured more than 280 others, mostly women and children, at a public park in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Sunday, striking at the heart of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political base of Punjab.
The blast occurred in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, a few metres away from children’s swings. Eyewitnesses said they saw body parts strewn across the parking lot once the dust had settled after the blast.
“When the blast occurred, the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw bodies flying in the air,” said Hasan Imran, 30, a resident who had come to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park for a walk.
Salman Rafique, a health adviser for the Punjab provincial government, put the death toll at at least 60 people.
“There are more than 280 injured people,” Rafique said. “Many are in operation theatres now being treated and we fear that the death toll may climb considerably.”
Mustansar Feroz, police superintendent for the area in which the park is located, said most of the injured and dead were women and children.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which occurred in a busy residential area during the Easter holiday weekend. Police said it was not clear whether the attack had deliberately targeted mainly Muslim Pakistan’s small Christian minority.
Pakistan, a nation of 190 million people, is often plagued by Taliban insurgency, criminal gangs and sectarian violence. Punjab, where the city of Lahore is located, is the country’s largest and wealthiest province.