A powerful explosion rocked Pakistan's Lahore on Monday afternoon. The number of killed, according to media, has reached at least 26, while 57 others have been reported injured.
The blast took place at the Ferozepur Road near the residence of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, says Reuters.
26 people have lost their lives and 57 injured - Govt Of Punjab
8 policemen have been martyred including 1 Sub-Inspector, 1 ASI and 6 Constables - Govt Of Punjab
No words can express the grief which grips my heart right now. Blast destroyed many families, but terrorists can never destroy our resolve. Our blood was spilt on the street but I swear to my Allah that the blood of our innocent martyrs will write end of these cowardly assassins!: Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif
"39 people injured and 25 persons have lost their lives." - Deputy Commissioner Lahore
Lahore police chief Capt Amin Wains said the “target of blast was police”. He also confirmed that it was a suicide blast.
According to Rescue 1122, at least 20 people including policemen have been killed in the blast.
“Police and Lahore Development Authority officials were busy in removing encroachments outside the Arfa Karim Tower, located near the CM’s Model Town residence, when a powerful blast took place,” Rescue 1122 Deeba Shahnaz told PTI.
Rescue teams shifted the injured to hospital. An emergency was declared in city hospitals.
“The condition of several injures is stated to be critical,” the official said.
The chief minister, who is also the brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was in a meeting at his Model Town office when the blast took place.
Citing police sources, the Geo News reported that a suicide attacker targeted police personnel deployed at the site. The area has been cordoned off by a heavy contingent of security forces and the section of the road has been sealed.
Pakistani news website Dawn reported that the SP Imran Awan has confirmed that more than nine bodies were shifted to a nearby hospital. At least three of the deceased people are policemen, he added.
According to Awan, an anti-encroachment drive was underway in the area when the explosion took place. The anti-riot police officials were deployed for the drive, the media house reported.
The injured include six policemen. Rescue 1122 teams have shifted them to nearby hospitals where emergency has been imposed.
In April, six persons were killed and 15 others injured when a suicide bomber targeted a population census team in Lahore’s Bedian Road.