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Mar 12th, 2010

At Least 43 Dead, 100 Hurt in Lahore Blasts

Suicide bombers target security forces in 4th major attack in a week


Twin suicide blasts (MSNBC, March 12, 2010) – Lahore is rocked by a pair of suicide bombers who targeted army vehicles.’s Dara Brown reports. (01:07)

The Associated Press and Reuters via
March 12, 2010

LAHORE, Pakistan — A pair of suicide bombers targeting army vehicles detonated explosives within seconds of each other Friday, killing at least 43 people in this eastern city and wounding about 100, police said.

The blasts represented the fourth major attack in Pakistan this week, indicating Islamist militants are stepping up violence after a period of relative calm.

About 10 of those killed were soldiers, said Lahore police chief Parvaiz Rathore.

Several hours later another explosion reportedly hit the city, but there were no immediate details of casualties.

In the earlier attack, the bombers, who were on foot, struck RA Bazaar, a residential and commercial neighborhood where several security agencies have facilities.

Security forces swarmed the area as thick black smoke rose into the sky and bystanders rushed the injured into ambulances.

Video being shot with a mobile phone just after the first explosion showed a large burst of orange flame suddenly erupting in the street, according to GEO TV, which broadcast a short clip of the footage shot by Tabraiz Bukhari. …

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but suspicion quickly fell on the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida.

The militants are believed to have been behind scores of attacks in U.S.-allied Pakistan over the last several years, including a series of strikes that began in October and lasted around three months, killing some 600 people in apparent retaliation for an army offensive along the Afghan border.

In more recent months, the attacks were smaller, fewer and confined to remote regions near Afghanistan.

But on Monday, a suicide car bomber struck a building in Lahore where police interrogated high-value suspects — including militants — killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

Also this week, suspected militants attacked the northwest Pakistan offices of World Vision, a U.S.-based Christian aid group, killing six Pakistani employees. A bombing at a small, makeshift movie theater in the main northwest city of Peshawar killed four people. …

[The] attacks show that the loose network of insurgents angry with Islamabad for its alliance with the U.S. retain the ability to strike throughout Pakistan despite pressure from army offensives and American missile strikes. …

The violence also comes amid signs of a Pakistani crackdown on Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida operatives using its soil. Among the militants known to have been arrested is the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar [link added].

The Pakistani Taliban, meanwhile, are believed to have lost their top commander, Hakimullah Mehsud [link added], in a U.S. missile strike in January. The group has denied Mehsud is dead but has failed to prove he’s still alive. …

During the bloody wave of attacks that began in October [link added] — coinciding with the army’s ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in the South Waziristan tribal area — Lahore was hit several times.

In mid-October, three groups of gunmen attacked three security facilities [link added] in the eastern city, a rampage that left 28 dead. Twin suicide bombings at a market there in December killed around 50 people.

Full story


Related reports on this site

Afghan War Expands to Region (Oct. 8, 2009)

Taliban Leader Vows Revenge (Oct. 5, 2009)

Taliban, al-Qaida Up the Ante (Sept. 21, 2008)

Al-Qaida Threatens New Attacks (Sept. 20, 2008)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — March 12, 2009

Image: Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center
Worshippers at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s largest mosque. The mosque is suspected by the families of some missing Somali men of having a role in their loved ones’ disappearance. (Photo credit: Craig Lassig / AP)

FBI Probing Somali Terror Link

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that the FBI was investigating whether young Somali men were being radicalized in Minnesota and recruited to fight with terrorist groups such as al-Shabab in Somalia.

3 Responses to “AfPak War: Bombers Strike Lahore”
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