LAHORE, Pakistan: At least four people were killed and 13 others wounded after an explosion near the residence of the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, hospital and police officials said.
The blast took place in the Johar Town area of the city, Pakistan’s second-largest, on Wednesday.
“The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has taken over the site of the attack completely,” Punjab police chief Inam Ghani told reporters at the site of the blast shortly after it took place.
“The CTD will ascertain what it was, what material it was, what was used … and secondly, was it an [improvised explosive device] lodged in a vehicle, and whether it is a suicide attack or not.”
Ghani said a police picket that was set up near the home of a “high-value target” was the apparent target of the attack.
A residence belonging to Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of LeT that is designated as a “terrorist” group under Pakistani law and by the United Nations, is located near the site of the blast.
“The biggest target that we see right now is that they are targeting law enforcement agencies,” Ghani said.
Television footage from the scene showed massive damage to several homes near the blast site, with windows smashed in, doors blown open and extensive damage to buildings close to the blast epicentre.
At least 16 wounded people were shifted to the nearby government-run Jinnah Hospital, with three of them succumbing to their wounds, a hospital official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Six of the wounded were in critical condition, the official said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
LeT founder Saeed is blamed by the United States and India for being the “mastermind” behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people in a series of coordinated bombings and shootings across the Indian financial capital.
Saeed has denied any wrongdoing and currently runs the charitable wing of the LeT, called Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which has been designated by both Pakistan and the UN as a front for the armed group.
He was convicted and jailed last year in a series of terrorism financing cases lodged by the Pakistani government as it tightened financial laws and restrictions as part of its review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) inter-governmental body.
A JuD spokesperson said Saeed was in prison and therefore not in the residence that may have been targeted in Wednesday’s bombing.