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Pakistan: Death toll rises to 14 in Lahore suicide attack

News Agencies | Updated on: 16 February 2017, 12:55 IST
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The death toll in the Lahore suicide attack on Thursday rose to 14 with one more person succumbing to his injuries, as officials arrested a key facilitator of the blast which took place outside Pakistan's Punjab assembly.

"One more injured in the Monday's Lahore Mall Road blast succumbed to his injuries rising the death toll to 14," Punjab Police spokesman Niyab Haider told PTI.

He said the condition of over half-a-dozen injured was still very critical.

Two senior police officers were among 13 people killed when a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during a protest rally outside Pakistan's Punjab assembly on Monday that also wounded more than 71 others.

"Police have taken more than 50 suspects including some Afghans into custody in connection with the blasts and they are being interrogated," Haider said.

A senior police officer has said that the intelligence agencies have got a lead in the case and arrested a facilitator of the suicide bomber.

"We are positive to get to the mastermind and other culprits through him. The facilitator/handler is being interrogated," the officer said.

The Home Department has directed law enforcement agencies to ensure extreme vigilance and heightened security.

"Combing operations [must] be conducted in all targeted areas, particularly where the Afghan/Pathan community is residing," it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the government has formed a Joint Investigation Team headed by Crime Investigation Department's Senior Superintendent of Police Muhammad Iqbal to probe the matter.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the federal government will speak to the Afghan government about action against Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.

Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group had claimed responsibility for a blast on March 27 last year at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore that left 75 people dead, mostly Christians who were celebrating Easter.

Founded in August 2014 by a former TTP leader, the outfit has staged several attacks in Pakistan targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel and law enforcement agencies.

"The only solution to end the continuing acts of terror seems to be an indiscriminate, immediate and ruthless operation against terrorists," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said.

--PTI

First published: 16 February 2017, 12:55 IST
 
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