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lahore blast

March 28, 2016

More than 200 suspects held after COAS orders large-scale operation in Punjab

Several suspected terrorists and facilitators have been arrested, says DG ISPR.

RAWALPINDI (Web Desk / Reuters) – Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif chaired a high-level security meeting at General Headquarters (GHQ) on Monday to review progress of operation in Punjab to nab terrorists in the aftermath of Lahore park blast, the army spokesperson said.

The attack on Sunday evening at Gulshan Iqbal Park in the eastern city of Lahore, killed mostly women and children enjoying a weekend outing.

According to DG ISPR Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, intelligence agencies, Army and Rangers carried out five joint operations in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan since last night during which several suspected terrorists and their facilitators have been arrested.

Huge cache of arms and ammunition were also recovered during the raids, he added.

Asim Bajwa said anti-terrorism operations would continue with more leads provided by the arrested suspects.

According to sources, more than two hunred suspects have been captured in Lahore, Faisalabad, Kamonkay, Narowal, Gujranwala and adjoining areas.

Earlier, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the park attack.

Lahore is the capital of Pakistan s richest province, Punjab, and is seen as the country s political and cultural heartland.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif s office condemned the blast as a cowardly act and said a response had been ordered, without elaborating.

Lahore, markets, schools and courts were closed on Monday as the city mourned.

Rescue services spokeswoman Deeba Shahnaz said at least 72 people were killed and about 340 were wounded, with 25 in serious condition.

Pakistan has been plagued by militant violence for the last 15 years, since it joined a U.S.-led campaign against militancy after the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States.

The security forces have killed and arrested hundreds of suspected militants under the crackdown launched after the 2014 Peshawar school massacre.

Militant violence had eased but they retain the ability to launch devastating attacks.


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