Islamabad, Pakistan – At least two people have been killed and dozens more wounded after an explosion in a busy shopping district in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, police say.
The explosion took place in the Lohari Gate area, a densely packed neighbourhood consisting of small shops packed into narrow criss-crossing streets, on Thursday afternoon, police spokesperson Nayab Haider told Al Jazeera.
“The deaths of two people are confirmed,” he said, adding that four of the wounded were in critical condition.
Hospital officials at Lahore’s Mayo hospital, where the wounded were being treated, confirmed the death toll and said at least 26 people had been wounded in the blast.
Security officials inspect the scene of the bomb blast in Lahore [Rahat Dar/EPA]
Television footage showed police officials cordoning off blast site, with forensic teams gathering evidence.
“Initially it seems that this is a planted [bomb] device that has caused this explosion,” senior police official Abid Khan told reporters at the scene.
Khan said investigations were ongoing to determine the nature of the blast and the kind of explosive used.
Rescue official Farooq Ahmed told Al Jazeera that all of the wounded had been shifted from the scene to nearby hospitals.
Most of the wounded had been hit by shrapnel in their lower limbs, police official Khan said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the commercial centre of Pakistan’s second-largest city.
Investigators gather evidence as they examine the site of the bomb explosion in Lahore [K.M. Chaudary/AP Photo]
Pakistan has seen a series of small-scale attacks targeting policemen, security forces and civilians in recent weeks, after the breakdown of talks between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban) armed group.
On Monday, a policeman was killed and two others wounded when a checkpost in the capital Islamabad came under fire from gunmen in an attack the interior minister warned may be the start of a wave of attacks. The TTP claimed responsibility for that attack in a statement sent to journalists on Tuesday.
In December, the TTP unilaterally ended a ceasefire established while those talks were ongoing, under the mediation of the Afghan Taliban.