55 killed in suicide attack at Wagah border in Pakistan
Lahore: At least 55 people were killed and 150 injured in a deadly suicide attack on the Pakistani side of Wagah border. It's the only road that crosses between Amritsar and Lahore and it happened few minutes after the flag lowering ceremony yesterday evening.
Banned terrorist organization Jundullah was held responsible for a suicide bombing that killed 78 Christians inside a church in Peshawar last September.
According to Mushtaq Sukhera Punjab inspector general of police, “the bomber triggered the explosion outside a restaurant near a paramilitary soldiers' checkpoint at Wagah”.
"The parade venue is about 600 metres ahead of the blast site. The suicide bomber detonated the bomb away from the parade venue because of the strict checking," said top Rangers officer Tahir Khan to TOI. "If the blast had occurred close to the border gate, the devastation would have been far greater," Khan further added.
Punjab's interior minister Shuja Khanzada said that, “the attacker crossed four security checkpoints and was waiting for the public to gather as the flag hoisting ceremony was about to end”.
"His target was to get close to soldiers at the border but he was unable to cross the last checkpoint," he added.
According to Sukhera, the bomber was stopped at the gate of the parade ground. "He detonated his explosives when people gathered near the gate. Up to five kilograms of explosives and ball bearings were used in the blast," Sukhera said to TOI. "There were security threats and the border force had prior information," he said.
The attack was in retaliation against Pakistan Army's Operation Zarb-i-Azb against militants in Waziristan said Ahmed Marwat, spokesman of al-Qaida-affiliated Jundullah told Pakistan media including Dawn on telephone.