A powerful suicide car bomb attack in eastern Pakistan has left at least 13 people dead and more than 70 wounded. Women and children are among the victims. Authorities blamed the attack on al-Qaida-linked Taliban militants.

Local police say the bomb blast took place during the morning rush hour in Pakistan's second largest city, Lahore. It targeted the office of an intelligence agency in the posh Model Town residential area where reportedly high-value suspected militants are brought for interrogation.

Ambulances rushed to the scene and transported those wounded to nearby hospitals.  Jawed Akram, a senior doctor at the city's Jinnah Hospital, says a large number of people are critically wounded.  He says the death toll could rise.

The doctor says people brought to his hospital have received multiple wounds, many with head injuries and broken limbs. He says that women are also among those killed or wounded.   

An explosive expert, Allah Yar, told reporters on the scene the explosive device weighing at least 500-kilogram was mounted on a vehicle.

He says the powerful blast left a four meter wide and two meter deep crater in the road outside the office of the security agency, and caused major damages to the surrounding residential buildings.

Provincial and federal ministers blamed al-Qaida-linked militants for Monday's deadly blast, which broke what had been a relative lull in major violence in Pakistan.

Suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks have killed more than three-thousand people across the country since mid 2007.

A dramatic increase in violence in the beginning of last year provoked the government to order major military offensives against militant hideouts in northwestern parts of the country, which border Afghanistan.

The move had significantly brought down the violence so far this year and led to the capture or killing of high-profile commanders of both Pakistani and Afghan Taliban.