Eds: Updates with casualties, quotes, background
At least 48 people, including 18 soldiers, were killed and 95 more injured Friday when two suicide bombings targeted a military convoy in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, security officials said, DPA reorted.
Chaudhry Shafeeq, a senior police officer, told reporters that security personnel had found the heads of both bombers who carried out attacks with a 15-second gap in RA Bazaar, a densely populated area located near an army base.
"Their target was army vehicles," Shafeeq told reporters. Television footage showed the wreckage of a destroyed military truck and the soldiers guarding the site of the blast in RA Bazaar.
The security sources said that a total of 48 people died in what was the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of Lahore.
"There are 30 civilians and 18 soldiers who have been confirmed dead so far," said a senior military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The target of the attack was the garrison security force that was carrying out a routine patrol in the area, the official added.
Tariq Saleem Dogar, the police chief of Punjab province of which Lahore is the capital, said that 95 more people were injured. He said both suicide bombers were on foot. He put the death toll at 39.
It was the second attack this week on security personnel in Lahore, which is considered the cultural hub of Pakistan. A car bombing hit a building housing the interrogation centre of a police intelligence agency on Monday, killing 15 people and injuring around 70.
The bombings come after a brief lull in the campaign of deadly attacks by Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, who have been hit hard by recent offensives by government forces in their heartland in the restive tribal region.
Thousands of people have died in dozens of suicide attacks on military and civilian targets since 2007, when the Islamist insurgents started to openly challenge the government and tried to impose Taliban-styled Islamic rule in certain areas of the north-western region.