Pakistani security personnel surround a damaged police van in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
Pakistani security personnel surround a damaged police van in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

ISLAMABAD - A suicide bomb explosion Wednesday morning outside a religious shrine in Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore has killed at least eight and wounded more than 20 others. 

The apparent target was a police vehicle near one of the gates of the shrine. At least five police personnel died in the attack, according to Arif Nawaz, the inspector general of Punjab province.

The 11th century Sufi shrine, commonly known as Data Darbar, is one of the largest and most visited in the country. It has been previously attacked, including a blast in 2010 that killed 40 people. Since then, has been under constant police guard.

Shrine managers closed all doors immediately following the blast. The people inside were eventually let out of a back door. 

A heavy contingent of police and counter terrorism officials have surrounded the area. The chief minister of the province, Usman Buzdar, cancelled his visits to other cities and called a high level security meeting to assess the situation. 

Wednesday is the second day of Ramadan in Pakistan, a holy month when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

Lahore has faced other attacks in recent years, including an attack on Christians celebrating Easter in 2016 that killed more than 70 people.