Taliban bomber kills nine in Raiwind
LAHORE - At least nine people, including five policemen, were martyred when a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint on Raiwind Road late Wednesday.
More than 25 people, including several police, were wounded in the explosion, the third suicide terror strike on Lahore police since 2017. A young officer and at least nine other policemen were also ferried to hospitals on ambulances soon after the terror hit that shattered calm in the city after months-long lull.
The bombing was claimed by the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in a statement sent to AFP, in which the jihadists threatened more attacks on police in retaliation for killing their âassociatesâ in Punjab.
Rescue workers said the death toll may swell because several victims were admitted to emergency units with multiple injuries. The authorities declared a state of emergency in all city hospitals amid calls fo r blood donations as ambulances with sirens wailed through the traffic-clogged streets.
A senior police officer confirmed to The Nation that it was a suicide blast. Chief of the Lahore operations police, Haider Ashraf, said the bomber was trying to sneak into the congregation of about 6,000 people, but was stopped at the first checkpoint by officials, on which he exploded himself.
Apparently, the bomber targeted police check-post set up on Raiwind Road to guard a major religious gathering nearby. Thousands of people were attending the days-long preaching congregation when the suicide blast ripped through the checkpoint.
Rescue workers late night confirmed at least nine people â" five policemen and four others â" were killed in the bombing. âAt least 13 policemen and eight civilians were wounded in the blast,â said a spokesman for Edhi Foundation, a charity that runs ambulances across Pakistan to help victims of violence and disasters.
Some police sources said there was a possibility that the bomber used a motorcycle to carry out the suicide attack. The body parts of the suicide bomber were sent to the forensic lab for investigation, he said. He stated a few vehicles were also badly damaged in the blast.
An injured policeman told The Nation that the blast took place all of a sudden. He said he was standing alert at a duty point on the road some 100 feet away from the checkpoint when he heard the sound of a very powerful explosion.
The police constable who was admitted to a nearby hospital in Raiwind also said the quick response force and rescuers reached the site within minutes.
âI fell on the road after being hit by something very hard on my legs. For a few seconds, it was very terrible. I tried to stand, but my legs were bleeding. There were several wounds on my legs,â said Constable Hussain.
Forensic experts were assessing the evidences collected from the crime scene. An official said seve ral kilograms of explosives were used to detonate the device. According to him, ball-bearings and shrapnel were used to carry out maximum casualties.
According to a police official, had the attacker managed to enter the main venue, casualties could have been much higher. He said the terrorist exploded his suicide jacket when a police officer signalled him to stop for body search.
Wednesdayâs blast was the third suicide attack on the Lahore police in last two years. In July 2017, at least 26 people, including nine policemen, died and 58 others were injured in a similar bomb attack near Arfa Karim IT Tower on Ferozepur Road. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility, stating a suicide attacker had used a motorcycle to target police officials.
In February 2017, at least 13 people were killed and 85 injured when a suicide bomber struck a group of police outside the Punjab Assembly on The Mall in Lahore. SSP Operations Zahid Gondal and DIG Traffic Lahor e Capt (r) Ahmad Mobin were among those martyred in the attack.
Security has been tightened following the attack and all exit and entry points to the vicinity have been secured. A search operation in the surrounding area has also been launched.
The latest blast was widely condemned. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz condemned the attack and directed the health authorities to provide the best medical treatment to the injured. Shehbaz Sharif said: âThe martyred policemen are our heroes. Their sacrifices will not go in vainâ.Source: Google News