Easter Day tragedy: 60 feared killed in Pakistani explosion

– Pakistani bombing may have been targeted at picnicking
Christians
– Sources say casualties may rise in the coming hours
– No group has claimed responsibility but witnesses say it
looked like a suicide bombing
Pakistanis are in a state of mourning after about 60 people were
killed and many others injured following an explosion in a park
within the city of Lahore.
The BBC reports that the incident happened on Easter Day evening
at a time when the park was crowded with families.
Lahore is the capital city of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest and
wealthiest province which also houses the political powerbase of
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to police sources, the explosion may have been a
suicide bomb, although no group has claimed responsibility for
the attack.
The blast happened in the early evening. Photo: AFP
Speculations are rife that the bomber targeted Christian families
who were out at the park to enjoy themselves during the Easter
weekend.
Sources say the explosion appeared to have occurred at the main
gate to the Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in an area where cars are usually
left, and a short distance from the children’s swings, while
majority of the casualties are women and children.
Large numbers of people have been injured, and many are said to
be in a serious condition. Photo: AFP
An eyewitness reports that there was chaos which was followed
by a stampede as children were separated from their parents in a
bid to flee the venue of the explosion.
Speaking with Pakistan’s Geo TV station, another man who
witnessed the incident explained that he was heading towards a
ride with his wife and two children when he heard a huge bang
and they were all thrown to the floor.
Dozens of ambulances raced to Gulshan-e-Ishaq park but for
many it was too late. Photo: Reuters
Also, Hasan Imran, 30, a local resident who had gone to the park
for a walk reportedly told Reuters that, “When the blast occurred,
the flames were so high they reached above the trees and I saw
bodies flying in the air” while a health adviser to the regional
government said more than 280 people had been injured with
fears rising over the possibility of the dead rising.
Many families had gone to the park. Photo: AFP
President, Mamnoon Hussain, has in strong terms, condemned
the explosion just as the Punjab government has declared three
days of mourning.
This explosion is coming just days after Brussels airport was
attacked by the Islamic State of Syria and Iran (ISIS) terrorists
which left about 31 people dead and 270 others injured.
Reports say a Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw has
identified Ibrahim El Bakraoui as one of two suicide bombers at the
Brussels airport and his brother, Khalid El Bakraoui, as the man
behind a deadly suicide blast about an hour later on a train near
the Maelbeek metro station.
CNN reports that one of the bombers at the airport may be the
man authorities named as a suspect in the Paris terror attacks.
Belgian investigators believe that the second suicide bomber killed
in the Brussels airport was alleged bomb-maker Najim Laachraoui.
They have not established his identity conclusively, a senior
Belgian counter-terrorism official said.

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