A suicide bomber belonging to the militant Taliban group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar carried out a massacre at a park in Lahore, eastern Pakistan on Easter Sunday, deliberately targeting Christians.
More Than 60 Killed In Pakistan Park Bombing |rferl| https://t.co/lYGPNNWlQY
— Ferey (@Ferey) 27 March 2016
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The park was particularly busy on Sunday evening due to the Easter holiday weekend.
Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for the attack and said they specifically targeted Pakistan’s Christian minority.
Speaking on behalf of the sick jihadis, Ehsanullah Ehsan said: “The target were Christians.
“We want to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore.
“He can do what he wants but he won’t be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks.”
Police sources had earlier said the bombing appeared to target “Christian families” celebrating Easter.
Mustansar Feroz, police superintendent for the area, said: “Most of the dead and injured are women and children.”
While senior police officer Haider Ashraf said the area was crowded with Christians celebrating Easter.
The blast occurred in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, just outside the exit gate and a few metres away from children’s swings.
Eyewitnesses describing seeing body parts strewn across the parking lot once the blast’s dust had settled.
Most of the victims were women and children, according to a rescue service spokesman.
According to doctors at the Jinnah Hospital, many injured are in critical condition and fear the death toll may rise.
Media footage showed children and women crying and screaming and rescue officials, police and bystanders rushing injured people to ambulances.
The terror attack happened at the heart of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political base of Punjab.
Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 190 million people, is plagued by a Taliban insurgency, criminal gangs and sectarian violence.
In 2014, the country launched an offensive against Taliban and affiliated jihadist fighters in North Waziristan, seeking to deprive them of safe havens from which to launch attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The wealthy Punjab state has traditionally been more peaceful than other parts of the country.
However, last year a bomb killed a popular Pakistani provincial minister and at least eight others when it destroyed the minister’s home in Punjab.
— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) 27 March 2016
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