Lahore, Feb 6 (ANI): At least 32 people were killed in a suspected suicide bombing at Dera Gazi Khan mosque on Thursday.
Police said the blast-targeted dozens of Shias who had converged at the Al Hussainia Mosque after dark, shortly before a prayer meeting.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, police were swift to blame sectarian extremists for the tragedy.
“Ninety-nine percent it looks like a suicide attack,” Shaukat Javed, Inspector General of Punjab Police, said.
“The explosion occurred just 50 feet short of the mosque. It is a terrorist attack aimed at Shias to create unrest. It seems like a suicide blast. If something is planted or hurled, it leaves a crater. There is no crater at the site of the incident,” Javed said.
“According to eyewitnesses, nothing was thrown from outside,” district government official Jawed Mehmood Bhatti told a foreign news agency.
“It looks as if someone was standing at the site of the blast and waiting for the procession and he blew himself up as the procession came close to him,” he added.
About 200 people had arrived to attend the religious gathering. District health official Dr Fazal Karim confirmed that 13 bodies were brought to the local hospital including those of two children and a woman, but said he did not know how many dead may have been counted elsewhere, the Daily Times reported.
Rescue workers were seen trying to clear a crowd out of the way to let ambulances pass in darkness, in footage broadcast by television channels.
“The initial report is that it was a suicide bomber. He exploded himself in the crowd. Body parts have been found and sent to the hospital,” district police chief Athar Mubarik told reporters.
“The attacker was wearing a jacket carrying 12 to 14 kilogrammes of explosives,” he added. (ANI)