13 killed in suicide blast in Lahore Shiite procession (Second Lead)January 25th, 2011 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Jan 25 (IANS) At least 13 people, including four policemen, were killed and over 50 others injured in a suicide bomb attack in Lahore Tuesday evening during a religious procession of Shiite Muslims, officials said.A woman was among the victims in the blast that took place near the concluding point of the religious procession at the Kerbala Gamay Shah at Bhatti Gate, superintendent of Mayo hospital, Zahid Pervez, was quoted as saying by Geo News.
According to state-run PTV, police confirmed that the explosion in the thickly populated area of Bhatti Gate in old Lahore was a suicide blast.
Sources told Xinhua that the blast took place in a vehicle near the religious procession in the Urdu Bazar area.
Aslam Tareen, the chief of Lahore police, told media persons that a 14-year-old boy had tried to enter into the area where hundreds of people were present for the religious procession.
When police stopped him for checking, he threw a handbag near a government vehicle and then exploded his vest filled with explosive material, he said.
Tareen confirmed that four police personnel have been killed in the blast.
He said no one from the Shiite procession was injured as the participants had not yet arrived.
Samma TV channel, however, reported that a suicide bomber driving a car loaded with explosives material tried to enter into the religious procession. When he was stopped at a police check-post he hit the police barrier and exploded the bomb.
Senior Superintendent of Police Rana Faisal said the bomber could not approach the procession due to the tight security cordon.
Police and security forces reached the blast spot and cordoned off the area. Ambulances are shifting the injured to hospitals.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. But Taliban militants have in the past targeted Shiite Muslims.
Police detained one person from the blast site and took him for questioning.
Emergency has been declared at Mayo Hospital, Ganga Ram Hospital and Services Hospital.
Hundreds of Shiites had gathered to mark the 40th day of Ashura, a festival that commemorates the seventh-century death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussain.
The congregation was part of the 967th birth anniversary celebrations of revered Shiite saint Data Ganj Bakhsh.
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Tags: ambulances, aslam, driving a car, explosive material, faisal, geo news, government vehicle, mayo hospital, media persons, pervez, police barrier, police check, religious procession, security cordon, shiite muslims, suicide bomb attack, suicide bomber, tight security, xinhua, zahid