Islamabad, Jan 20 (EFE).- A nine-year-old boy was among two people killed in a bomb blast that ripped through a crowded marketplace in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore Thursday, police said.
Nearly 30 people suffered injuries in the explosion that damaged many shops in the famous Anarkali Bazaar of the historic city that serves as the capital of the Punjab province.
“A bomb planted in a motorbike parked outside a bank went off at 2.04 pm, killing two people and wounding 29 others,” Lahore police spokesperson Rana Arif told EFE.
Arif said the bomb disposal squad would confirm the nature of the explosives used in the blast.
According to the police spokesperson, the glass fronts of several shops were shattered by the impact of the powerful blast.
TV footage showed some half-burnt motorcycles and bicycles scattered as the wounded cried for help.
The police spokesperson said the rescue operation was complete, and the wounded were shifted to Mayo hospital in Lahore.
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed grief and ordered an investigation.
The Baloch Nationalist Army claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We accept responsibility for targeting Habib Bank in Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore with explosives,” group spokesperson Mureed Baloch said on his Twitter account.
He said the explosion targeted bank employees without elaborating.
The group was formed on Jan 11 by the Baloch Republican Army and United Baloch Army.
Balochistan is rich in natural resources but economically most backward in Pakistan.
The province, which houses armed separatist groups, Taliban factions, and Islamists, borders Afghanistan and Iran and is one of the most volatile areas in Pakistan.
Baloch separatists have been fighting for greater autonomy of the Balochistan province for decades. They blame the central government for exploiting the province’s rich mineral resources.
Earlier, at least five people suffered wounds this week when a bomb blast derailed a passenger train in the troubled province.
Violence has seen a spike in Pakistan after the Taliban took over power in neighboring Afghanistan. EFE