Associated Press

Feb 23, 10:45 AM EST

Officials say explosives in a building under construction ignited, ripping through a market in an upscale neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore, killing eight people

AP Photo
AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

Interactive about flood-hit areas in Asia
Floods in Pakistan
Battling Taliban in Pakistan
A village destroyed: On the front lines of the Pakistan-Taliban conflict
Timeline on embassy attacks
Latest News
Pakistani minster says Lahore explosion that killed 7 was caused by a gas leak, not a bomb

Officials say explosives in a building under construction ignited, ripping through a market in an upscale neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore, killing eight people

They might have won only one match at the Asian Women's Rugby Sevens in Laos on the weekend, but for the Pakistan team _ which formed only a year ago _ it was a dream debut at an international event

A look at major militant attacks in Pakistan over the past 3 years

The Latest: Pakistani government official says death toll from IS attack on Sufi shrine in south rises to 80

A top official of the Pakistan Cricket Board says two accused players will be handed maximum punishments if they confess their involvement in spot-fixing during the Pakistan Super League

Pakistani judge bans Valentine's Day celebrations in country's capital, saying they are against Islamic teachings

Photo Gallery
Pakistan Elections
Child labor in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) -- Explosives in a building under construction ignited Thursday, ripping through a market in an upscale neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore, killing eight people, officials said. It was not immediately clear whether the explosives were meant to be a bomb or merely stored in the building.

The news came as a shock to many in this Islamic nation, where a string of brazen attacks claimed by Pakistani Taliban over the past two weeks have killed more than 125 people. Islamabad claims that Pakistani Taliban use Afghan soil to stage terrorist attacks across Pakistan, a charge Kabul denies.

Thursday's blast was so powerful that it shattered windows of nearby buildings and damaged vehicles parked outside a market in the Defense Housing Authority, said Rana Sanaullah, provincial law minister.

Nearly 30 people were wounded in the blast that the provincial Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said was caused when explosives inside the building ignited.

Mohammad Iqbal, spokesman for the CTD, told reporters that investigators were still trying to determine the purpose of storing explosive material in the building, and whether it was an improvised explosive device or remote control device.

Lahore police operations chief Haider Ashraf said the explosion took place inside a building that was under construction and where laborers were working at the time.

Earlier, live local TV footage showed smoke rising from a part of a restaurant that was under construction. The explosion was so powerful it littered the parking area outside the building with broken glass and debris. Dust and smoke covered dozens of cars parked outside, their windscreens and rear windows shattered.

The restaurant is located in a neighborhood called Defense Housing Authority, which includes several marketplaces and shopping areas. The area is under control of the military backed department - a common practice across Pakistan in better-off residential areas - and housing is mainly given to people working for the armed forces, though civilians can also buy plots and build homes.

Recent attacks across Pakistan have been claimed by an array of militant groups, including the Islamic State group and a splinter Taliban faction, and have prompted a countrywide crackdown on militants.

In just one bombing last week, which was claimed by IS and which targeted a revered Sufi shrine packed with Muslim worshippers - the majority of them Shiites - at least 90 people were killed.

Pakistan has been at war with the Taliban and allied Islamic militants who want to destabilize the nuclear-armed country to install their own harsh interpretation of Islam.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, speaking to reporters during an official visit to Turkey on Thursday, asked Afghanistan to act against those militants who are using Afghan soil for terrorist attacks in Pakistan. He also said Pakistani security forces backed by the army will take all steps to eliminate terrorism.

Sharif's comments came hours after the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, demanded the reopening of border crossings closed by Islamabad in the wake of the shrine bombing. Pakistan says any decision about reopening the crossings "will be taken in due course."

There was no immediate comment from Kabul in response to Sharif's comments.

But earlier in the day, Shekib Mustaghni, the Afghan foreign ministry spokesman, said Afghanistan was ready to seek United Nations sanctions against suspected terrorist networks and their supporters, a veiled reference to Pakistan. Kabul accuses Pakistan of aiding Taliban insurgents, particularly the Haqqani network.


Ahmed reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad in Islamabad and Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to this report.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.





2006 Reading Eagle Company, All Rights Reserved
Serving the Berks County community and surrounding areas for over 130 years!
This site contains links to other Internet sites.
These links are not endorsements of any products or services in such sites,
and no information in such site has been endorsed or approved by this site.