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Death toll rises to 11 in Lahore shrine blast

By
Darryl Coote
Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack that targeted a police vehicle outside the Sufi Muslim Data Darbar shrine in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo by EPA-EFE
Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack that targeted a police vehicle outside the Sufi Muslim Data Darbar shrine in Lahore, Pakistan. Photo by EPA-EFE

May 9 (UPI) -- The death toll rose to 11 Thursday as another police officer died of injuries sustained the day before during the suicide bombing out front of Lahore's famous Data Darbar shrine.

At least five police officers were among the dead due to an explosion near one of the entrances to the Data Darbar shrine at around 8:44 a.m. Wednesday, Pakistan's The Express Tribune reported.

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Another 26 people were injured in the blast authorities believe was targeted at police.

"It was a suicide attack and the police van was targeted," Punjab Inspector General Police Capt. Arif Nawaz Khan said.

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Punjab chief minister's spokesman Shahbaz Gill told reporters the suspected suicide bomber was a 15-year-old boy seen in CCTV footage making his way from a fruit shop to the police van when the explosion occurred, Pakistan Today reported.

Police said at least 15 pounds of explosives were used.

Hizbul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement, saying their target was the police, the Khaleej Times reported.

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"This attack was carried out at a time when there were no civilians near the police," said Abdul Aziz Yousafzai, the militant group's spokesman.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he's instructed the Punjab government to offer any assistance necessary to the injured and families of the victims.

"I strongly condemn the terrorist attack outside Data Darbar," he said in a tweet.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said an investigation into the attack was ongoing, Radio Pakistan reported.

While at Lahore's Mayo Hospital Thursday, where the injured were receiving treatment, he distributed cheques of $3,500 to those seriously injured and of $700 to those suffering from minor injuries.

The explosion occurred on the first day of Ramadan, a holy month observed by Muslims.

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