A suicide bomber has attacked a police building in eastern Pakistan. A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban said it was in retaliation for recent executions.
The suicide bomber on Tuesday killed atleast six people and himself in a brazen attack on police headquarters in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, in what militants called a revenge bid for the recent hangings of colleagues.
It was the third in a series of high-profile attacks in the last month triggered by a government decision in December to begin hanging those convicted of terror attacks, reversing an informal six-year moratorium on the death penalty.
“We claim the attack in Lahore because the government is killing our men in prison,” said Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for powerful Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. “Such attacks will go on,” promised the group’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan. In December, the Pakistani government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty following an attack on an army school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
“We will get revenge for every man and our struggle will continue until sharia is instituted in the country,” he said, referring to Islamic law.
In the Pakistani incident, Punjab police chief Mushtaq Sukhera said a policeman and four civilians were among the dead. Jam Hussain, a spokesman for the emergency services, said six bodies had been recovered along with the attacker’s.
At least 23 people were injured, said Khawaja Salman Rafique, health adviser to the chief minister of Punjab.
Casualties would have been much greater if the police had not been alert and kept out the bomber, Lahore police chief Amin Wains told reporters at the attack site.
“It was a suicide blast, the bomber blew up prematurely outside the police offices,” he added. “That he could not enter the offices shows our security was successful.”
Ali Raza, the owner of a shop nearby, said the blast had been powerful enough to knock over one of his employees, and left body parts strewn in the street.