26 killed, 170 injured in twin blasts in Lahore

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Islamabad, Mar 11: At least 26 people were killed and 170 injured as two powerful explosions rocked Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore today in a fresh spate of violence.

''Death toll in Lahore bombings has risen to 26, ''Director General FIA Tariq Pervaiz told mediapersons in Lahore. The first blast took place in offices of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), while the second one followed minutes later at offices of an advertising agency in the posh Model town area. Office of a non-governmental organisation, 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.

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

Senior police officials said they could not rule out the possibility of the 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, which took place early this month, killed at least 50 people at a jirga or assembly of elders in tribal area of Darra Adam Khel.

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 a Murree hill resort on Sunday.


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