JUST IN

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Death toll in Pakistani park bombing hits 71

pakistan-bombingGrief enveloped Pakistan on Monday as the official

death toll from a suicide bombing at a public park in

Lahore rose to 69, with 341 people wounded.

But the local news media put the number of people

killed at 71.

The Sunday’s suicide bombing was claimed by the

Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction, which

once declared loyalty to Islamic State of Iraq and

Syria, saying it was targeting Christians.

The attack within the power base of the Pakistani

Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, was Jamaat-ur-Ahrar’s

fifth bombing since December.

Reuters reports that at least 29 children enjoying an

Easter weekend outing were among those killed

when the suicide bomber struck in a busy park in the

eastern city of Lahore. Pakistan is a majority-Muslim

state but has a Christian population of more than two

million.

Police investigators said a suicide bomber had

detonated explosives in a vest during the evening

rush hour on Sunday at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of

the largest public parks in this eastern city.

Prime Minister Sharif arrived in Lahore on Monday

morning and visited Jinnah Hospital to show

solidarity with the victims. He said he was deeply

grieved and vowed to bring the culprits to justice.

Later, he met with senior government officials and

pledged to eliminate terrorism, The New York Times

reports.

“Our resolve as a nation and as a government is

getting stronger, and the cowardly enemy is trying

for soft targets,” Sharif said during the meeting. “Our

goal is not only to eliminate terror infrastructure but

also the extremist mind-set, which is a threat to our

way of life.”

A military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa, said

intelligence raids had been carried out in three cities

in Punjab Province, of which Lahore is the capital,

after the attack, and that a “number of terrorists and

facilitators were arrested.” However, he gave no

further details about the identities of those arrested

or whether they were connected to Sunday’s

bombing.

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