At least 30 people have been killed and more than 200 others injured when a car bomb exploded on a busy main street in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province.
It was mid-morning, Wednesday, when a van pulled up to a building housing a police department on Fatima Jinnah road, one the Lahore's busiest. The bomb-laden van failed to penetrate the building's security barriers and its' occupants began shooting rounds of gunfire.
The van then exploded, flattening the police department building, destroying scores of vehicles and shattering the windows of nearby offices, shops and buildings.
Taliban militants blamed
Scenes of destruction and chaos were repeatedly aired on Pakistan's 24 television news channels. Witnesses describe the bomb as "huge" and "intense."
Four suspects have been arrested.
Pakistani officials immediately said the attack was the work of terrorists. Interior Minister Rehman Malik addressed allegations of a security lapse while speaking to reporters just after the attack.
"We are doing our best," said Malik. "Please do not forget we are in a state of insurgency."
Malik blames Pakistani Taliban militants for the attack. So far, no one has claimed responsibility.
Pakistan has been bracing for terror attacks on its major cities ever since the military began an offensive, earlier this month, to eject Taliban militants in Swat Valley and surrounding areas.
Terrorists have targeted Lahore several times, in the past few months. The most high-profile attack took place in early March, when gunmen fired on the Sri Lankan national cricket team, wounding several players and killing six policemen.