Monday 25 September 2017

Eight killed in explosion in upscale neighbourhood in Pakistani city Lahore

A policeman checks the police screen as investigators collect evidence at the scene of a blast in a upscale neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza
A policeman checks the police screen as investigators collect evidence at the scene of a blast in a upscale neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

Zaheer Babr

An explosion has rocked an upscale neighbourhood in the Pakistani city of Lahore, killing eight people, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast at a popular restaurant, but it could be the latest in a string of attacks over the past two weeks that have killed more 125 people.

Provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah said 23 people were wounded by the explosion.

"Our focus at the moment is to rush the victims to hospitals and secure the scene of crime," said Lahore operations police chief Haider Ashraf.

TV footage showed smoke rising from part of the restaurant that was still under construction.

The explosion was so powerful it shattered windows of several nearby buildings. Dust and smoke covered dozens of cars parked outside, their windscreens and rear windows shattered.

No group has claimed the explosion as an attack.

The restaurant is in a neighbourhood called Defence Housing Authority, which includes several market places 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, although civilians can buy plots and build homes.

The recent attacks across Pakistan have been claimed by an array of militant groups, including Islamic State and a splinter Taliban faction, and have prompted a countrywide crackdown on militants.

In one bombing last week, which was claimed by IS and targeted a revered Sufi shrine packed with Muslim worshippers, the majority of them Shiites, at least 90 people were killed.

Press Association

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