Pakistani authorities said a powerful suicide bomb went off just outside police headquarters in the eastern city of Lahore Tuesday, killing at least five people and wounding many more.
Witnesses described the explosion as so powerful that they were knocked to the ground. The injured are being transferred to nearby hospitals. Rescue operations are under way and police have surrounded the area.
Television footage showed that the intense explosion shattered windows on nearby buildings and set several vehicles on fire. A senior police official told the media that the suicide bomber wanted to enter the police headquarters but failed to do so due to several layers of security.
Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the Lahore blast, calling it revenge for the hanging of some of their members recently. Their spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, said such attacks will continue until sharia law is implemented in Pakistan.
The bombing happened hours after Pakistani security officials announced the killing of a commander of the Pakistani Taliban in "an intelligence-led operation" in the northwestern Swat valley. Officials identified the man as Bakhat Raj, also known as Asadullah, and described him as the militant group's financier.
The Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for an attack in the northwestern city Peshawar last Friday that killed 20 worshipers in a Shiite mosque. In a statement to the media, a spokesman had threatened that more attacks will follow. The group also carried out a devastating attack on a Peshawar school in December that killed 150 people, mostly children.