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Bomb Rips Through Protest Rally in Pakistan, at Least 13 Killed

  • Ayaz Gul

Police and security officers cordon off the area of a deadly bombing, in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 13, 2017.

Police and witnesses in Pakistan say that a suicide bomber detonated a blast at a protest rally in the eastern city of Lahore, killing at least 13 people and wounding around 85 others.

Two senior police officers were among the dead and rescue workers feared the toll was likely to increase.

The rally was being staged outside the provincial legislature by chemists and pharmaceutical manufacturers who oppose new regulations.

Witnesses said the slain police officers were negotiating with protest leaders to seek an end to the rally when the bomb exploded.

It was not clear immediately whether a planted device or a suicide bomber conducted the blast.

A breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the violence in the capital city of the country’s most populous Punjab province. A spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said one of its suicide bomber carried out the attack.

The bomb attack in the second largest Pakistani city came after an overnight roadside bomb killed three soldiers in a volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the main anti-state Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the violence in South Waziristan, a semi-autonomous tribal region where counter-insurgency military operations are underway.

The group also took credit for ambushing a van carrying the reporting team of a private television station in Karachi.

The Sunday night gun attack in the largest southern Pakistani city left an assistant cameraman dead, according to police.

Pakistani troops have been battling the insurgents and claim to have dismantled their hideouts and bases in remote areas near the Afghan border but the militants are still able to carry out terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, police in Quetta confirmed that two experts of its bomb disposal squad got killed and 8 other people wounded in a bomb blast in the city minutes ago. The slain explosive experts had just arrived on the scene after receiving information about a suspicious bag when the device went off.

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