A massive blast outside police headquarters in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed at least five people Tuesday in the latest attack claimed by a militant organization under assault by government forces.
A faction of the Pakistani Taliban said it was responsible for the attack, which appeared to have been carried out by a suicide bomber, according to police and witness accounts.
One police officer was among the dead, and 26 others were injured, some seriously, Lahore officials said.
The assault came just days after the Pakistani Taliban attacked a Shiite Muslim mosque in the northern city of Peshawar in what the militant group said was retaliation for the hangings of extremists carried out in recent weeks by Pakistani authorities.
Pakistan lifted an informal moratorium on the death penalty after the Pakistani Taliban’s December attack on an army-run school that killed 132 children.
Khurram Ali, 34, who was at a gas station filling his tank about 30 yards from the blast, said he saw a severed head fly past when the explosion rocked Lahore’s Qila Gujjar Singh area shortly after noon. Bodies of injury victims were strewn about the ground and several vehicles caught fire, he said.
“It was so horrible,” Ali said.
Haider Ashraf, a police official in Lahore, said about 20 pounds of explosives were used in the attack.
Police officials said snipers posted at the gates of the complex fired when they saw an apparent suicide bomber attempting to enter the premises. The assailant detonated his explosives in an adjacent market, officials said.
Sahi is a special correspondent.