Twin suicide bombings kill dozens in Pakistan's Lahore
Two suicide bombings killed 48 people, including eight soldiers, in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, security officials said.
Around 100 more people were injured in the attacks that targeted the army personnel in Royal Artillery Bazaar, locally known as RA Bazaar, located near an army base.
Six more back-to-back low-intensity blasts rocked a residential area of the city around 20 kilometers away later in the evening, but no serious injuries were reported.
A statement from the Pakistan Army said a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a mosque at RA Bazaar in the midday, when military personnel "deployed on protection duties" were patrolling the area.
A second attacker detonated his explosives two minutes later when a quick response team of the Garrison Security Force reached the site for the "evacuation of casualties," the statement said further.
The densely populated RA Bazaar area is located in the cantonment that houses military installations as well as the residents of army officials.
The private Geo television aired video footage of Friday's twin bombings sent by an amateur using his mobile phone. It showed huge flames and thick ball of smoke leaping from the site of the blast.
The debris and limbs of the victims were scattered around the place and people were seen running in panic.
"Oh my God, Oh my God! Who are these barbarians? Be kind to us my God," someone, apparently the man who shot the video, was heard shouting in the video.
The security sources said a total of 48 people died in the attack while 100 more were injured. Eight soldiers were among the dead while 12 were wounded.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the lethal attack in a phone call to the Geo television network.
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 since 2007, when the Islamist insurgents started to openly challenge the government and impose Taliban-styled Islamic rule in certain areas of the north-western region.
Friday's bombings were the second attack this week on security personnel in Lahore, the cultural hub of Pakistan the capital of country's largest Punjab province.
A car bomb struck a building housing the interrogation centre of a police intelligence agency on Monday, killing 15 people and injuring around 70.
"This is the most lethal terrorist attack in Lahore," Abdul Basit, the head of the conflict and security department at the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies spoke about the twin bombings.
"In Lahore we mainly see high-profile militant attacks and the reason might have been because Lahore is the capital of Punjab province from where the top military brass hails," he said, dpa reported.
Hours later, a series of six low-intensity blasts took place in Lahore's residential area Allama Iqbal Town. No one was seriously injured.
Tariq Saleem Dogar, the head of Punjab police, said the fresh bombings were meant for "scaring people" and not to inflict damage.
The bombings forced the markets to close down and the calls were made on the mosques' loudspeakers urging people to stay at their homes.
The latest attacks raised fears that the militants were regrouping despite Pakistan's military assaults and regular drone attacks by US in the tribal region that have killed dozens of Taliban top commanders and al-Qaeda operatives.
Rana Sanaullah, the provincial law minister, said it was "difficult if not impossible" to stop a suicide bomber. But "the nation is fighting the terrorists courageously," he added.