Islamabad (AsiaNews) – The death toll from suicide bombings against the Shia community of Lahore (Punjab) yesterday afternoon now stands at 31 dead and over 200 injured. The attacks, claimed by the Sunni terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, targeted a procession for the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Ali, grandson of Muhammad and the main spiritual authority of Shiite Islam. The event draws thousands of people. The Punjab government has announced three days of mourning throughout the province and currently has deployed police and military to avoid tensions between the two communities.
According to local media, the first explosion occurred around 18:50 local time in the Karbala Gamay Shah area and injured several people. About 25 minutes later, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the middle of the crowd in the Bath Chok and Anarkali areas causing carnage. Currently there are 31 dead and 200 wounded, including dozens in a serious condition, which may increase the number of deaths.
During the night a crowd of Shiite Muslims attacked police stations, setting fire to a number of vehicles and shouting slogans against the police, accusing them of failing to ensure security during the procession.
For now, the government has sent army special forces to Lahore, to avoid further clashes.