20 killed, 175 injured in twin explosions in Lahore

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Islamabad, Mar 11 (UNI) At least 20 people were killed and 175 injured as two powerful explosions rocked Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore today in a fresh spate of violence.

The first blast took place in offices of the Federal Investigation Agency, killing more than 16 people while the second one followed minutes later at offices of an advertising agency in the posh Model town area, leaving at least four dead.

Office of a non-governmental organization, run by Christian community opposite FIA building was also badly damaged as a result of the intensity of the blast, witnesses and police officials said.

An electricity transformer also blew up as a result of blast at FIA offices, which caused huge damage to NGO building.

Senior police officials said they could not rule out possibility of attacks being suicidal in nature, adding that two explosive-ladden vehicles hit FIA and advertising agency offices. A huge crator of 10X7 was found at main reception of FIA office.

The attack on FIA was the deadliest in the last few months.

The new attack came a week after 43 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in funeral prayers of a police official in the restive northwestern Swat Valley.

Another deadly suicide attack killed at least 50 people at a jirga or assembly of elders in tribal area of Darra Adam Khel took place early this month.

Surgeon General of Pakistan armed forces Lieutenant-General Mushtaq Baig was also killed along with his guard and driver and five civilians when a suicide bomber blew himself up near his car in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on February 25.

More than 350 people have been killed in a series of suicide attacks and bomb explosions mostly targeting military personnel in tribal regions and Northwestern Frontier Province since January this year.

Analysts believe that the increased suicide attacks and explosions pose a great challenge for the new coalition government of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which agreed to form a coalition government after lengthy talks in Murree hill resort on Sunday.

UNI XC NC RK1415

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