At least 17 people, including seven children, were killed and more than 70 others wounded in an explosion Monday at a home used for religious education in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Officials in the Mian Channu area said they believe the blast, which also flattened more than 20 nearby houses, was caused by a cache of explosives stored in the house.  

They said the rescuers were trying to recover people still trapped in the rubble.

The house belongs to a Muslim cleric who has been accused of recruiting fighters for a banned militant group.

It is unclear what triggered the blast, but local police searching through the debris say they found rocket launchers, grenades, and several suicide-bomber jackets.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the blast and ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg and Reuters.