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LAHORE: At least three persons, including a minor boy, were killed while 26 others were injured as an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in a motorbike exploded outside a private bank in crowded Pan Mandi area of New Anarkali on Thursday afternoon, police and rescuers said.

Initially, TV channels reported that it was a cylinder blast but when law enforcement personnel reached the spot and analyzed the crime scene, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Dr Muhammad Abid Khan confirmed to the media that it was an IED blast in which a motorbike was used.

The blast was so powerful that it damaged several shops and burned down motorbikes and pushcarts in the crowded bazaar. The wounded were crying for help; some people bundled the critically injured into rickshaws and took them to a nearby hospital.

“A newly-formed separatist group based in southwestern Balochistan province claimed responsibility (for the attack) in a text message sent to a reporter,” according to Reuters. The news agency said the militants claimed that a bank was the target. The attack was claimed on Twitter by a spokesman for the Baloch Nationalist Army, a newly formed separatist group based in southern Balochistan.

“This attack targeted bank employees. A detailed statement will be issued soon,” the tweet said.

Two soldiers martyred in attack on checkpost in Balochistan: ISPR

According to the CCTV footages, a suspect, minutes before the blast, parked a motorbike outside the branch of private bank and then left smoothly. Meanwhile, a powerful explosion was seen in the videos, which both opposition and ruling PTI lawmakers shared on their social media to condemn the cowardly act of militant(s).

A list issued by Mayo Hospital’s emergency department said that a total of 28 people were brought to the state-run health facility. Of them, two persons, including a nine-year-old boy Salman Ahmed, resident of Karachi, succumbed to their wounds on their way to the hospital. The report said that three women were among the injured. The condition of four persons was said to be critical till filing of this report.

Speaking to reporters after paying visit to the injured at the hospital, DIG Abid Khan said the impact of the blast had left behind a crater which suggested that it was caused by a bomb. “Our technical teams were collecting evidence and they will reach a conclusion on the basis of their findings,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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