Lahore suicide blast death toll rises to 38

Religious violence in Pakistan has killed over 4,000 people in past decade.

Islamabad: The toll from three suicide bombings in Pakistan`s eastern city of Lahore rose to 38 on Thursday as more victims died in hospital from their wounds, rescue workers said.

The number of injured nearly doubled from Wednesday to 300 after officials were able to tally the casualties, who had been taken to various hospitals, slowing data collection.

Three suicide bombers struck a religious procession of Shi’ite Muslims in Lahore within a span of 20 minutes on Wednesday.

Younis Bhatti, a spokesman for the Edhi rescue service, said among the dead were three children, one policeman and the three suicide bombers.

"Some of the 300 injured have left hospitals after medical treatment," he said. "They had minor injuries."

Sunni extremist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alimi, which is linked to the Taliban, took responsibility for the carnage. The outfit was suspected of several other attacks on official and civilian targets.

Wednesday`s Shi’ite procession was commemorating the death of Ali, a close companion and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed who was martyred in 661 AD.

After the bombings, crowds of Shi’ites set fire to a police station and several vehicles, prompting the government to deploy paramilitary troops in the area.

On Thursday, businesses and schools in Lahore were closed in mourning.

Hundreds of people gathered in a park in the city centre to attend the collective burial ceremony for 16 of the victims.
Lahore has seen several attacks by Taliban-linked groups over the past two years.
Wednesday was the first major militant attack since recent floods devastated Pakistan, submerging one-fifth of the country`s land and affecting more than 17 million people.

IANS

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