Seven killed in suicide blast targeting Shia procession in Pak

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M Zulqernain

Lahore, Jan 25 (PTI) A suicide bomber targeted a Shiaprocession in Pakistan''s eastern Lahore city today, killing atleast seven persons, including four policemen, and injuringnearly 40 others, officials said.

The blast occurred at Lahori Gate near Karbala GamayShah, a Shia ''imambargah'' or prayer hall.

Superintendent of Police (Security) Faisal Rana told themedia that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

"The attacker detonated his explosive vest at the firstlayer of security, where policemen were checking people(joining the procession)," Rana said.

The bomber struck when he was stopped by policemen, headded.

Lahore Police chief Aslam Tareen too said the attack wascarried out by a suicide bomber and added that four policemenwere among the seven dead.

State-run Rescue 1122 spokesman Fahim Jehanzeb told PTIthat the blast occurred minutes before the Shia processionreach the spot.

A suspect was arrested from the site of the blast whichalso left nearly 40 people injured, other officials said.

Shia Muslims across Pakistan are observing the ''chehlum''or 40th day of martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain today and alarge procession that originated from the old quarters ofLahore was to culminate at Karbala Gamay Shah in Bhatti Gate.

The attack occurred despite extensive securityarrangements put in place across Lahore to protect Shiaprocessions and the annual ''urs'' of the famous Data Darbarshrine.

An emergency was declared in all hospitals across Lahorefollowing the blast.

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