Lahore car bomb kills 30 (Second Lead)

May 27th, 2009 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Lahore, May 27 (IANS) A massive car bomb ripped through a building in the Civil Lines area of Pakistan’s Lahore city Wednesday morning, killing an estimated 30 people and injuring at least 80.
Raja Riaz, a senior minister in the Punjab government, told reporters that about 30 people were killed in the car bomb blast in the 15 Building that was reduced to rubble. It is adjacent to the CCPO office, where the additional director general of police sits.

He refused to speculate on the reasons for the terror attack.

An eyewitness said a white vehicle rammed through a security barrier and exploded outside the building itself.

Scores of people were injured in the explosion, which damaged several buildings, including offices of the police and Pakistan’s main intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The blast took place on a day when Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was to be presented in the Lahore high court close by.

“Bomb disposal squad said 100 kg of explosives has been used in car bomb attack,” The News website said in initial reports. It added a suicide jacket and a hand grenade had also been recovered from the blast site.

Gunshots were also heard in the area after the explosion that shattered the windowpanes of nearby buildings and destroyed many vehicles.

A hospital doctor said several people were killed and 80 wounded.

One suspect was arrested and helicopters could be seen hovering over the area.

According to Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik, the militants had been defeated in the northwest and had therefore turned towards Lahore.

“The situation is now under control in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and operations are on in Swat. We had been forewarned of the possibility of such an attack,” he told reporters in Karachi.

The entire 15 Building, described as the provincial headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir, was said to have collapsed.

Mir told an Indian television channel that about 40 people could have been killed and more than 100 injured.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and shifted the injured and bodies to hospitals. Emergency has been announced in local hospitals.

On March 3, a team of 12 terrorists ambushed and fired rocket propelled grenades at the convoy carrying Sri Lankan players to the Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Seven players and the team’s assistant coach were injured and six Pakistani police officials, who were providing protection to the bus carrying the players, were killed in the attack that shook the entire cricketing world.

Later that month, Pakistani security forces had to storm the Manawan police training academy on the outskirts of Lahore, ending a seven-hour siege by a group of heavily armed attackers who had taken over 800 trainees hostage. Four of the attackers were killed, while three were captured alive.

At least 27 police trainees were killed.

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