At least 9 killed, bomb targeted Elite Force of Punjab Police

At least 9 killed, bomb targeted Elite Force of Punjab Police

A powerful bomb has exploded near security forces guarding a famous Sufi shrine in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan, killing at least nine people and wounding several others.

Senior police official Muhammad Ashfaq told a press conference that the security personnel at the shrine were targeted, but stressed that the cause of the blast remains under investigation. The nature and exact target of the explosion is yet to be ascertained. Prof Gondal added that seven bodies had been shifted to Mayo Hospital while two are at the morgue in King Edward Medical University.

It comes as the country marks the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Police said a general security alert was in force but there had been no specific warning about a threat to the Data Darbar, which protected by heavy layers of security.

Police sources confirmed that the Elite Force vehicle was the target of the attack. The suicide bomber was aged around 15-16 years.

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Three police officials, a security guard and a civilian were killed, he said.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif also condemned the attack and blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for its failure in implementing the National Action Plan (NAP).

The blast, one day after the beginning of Ramadhan, took place close to the Data Darbar, one of the largest shrines in South Asia, the report said. "The condition of six injured is critical and doctors are trying their best to save their lives", he said.

In Pakistan, Data Darbar is one of the most revered Sufi shrines and is built around the grave of Sufi saint Abul Hassan Ali Hajveri, Lahore's patron saint.

The shrine is located inside the ancient Walled City in Lahore, Pakistan's second-biggest city.