Blast kills at least 70, injures 300 at park in Pakistan
A suicide bomber targeting Christians killed at least 70 and injured more than 300 in a park in Lahore, Pakistan on Easter Sunday. The majority of the victims are said to be women and children. Reuters reported at least 29 children celebrating Easter were among the casualties. A faction of the Pakistan Taliban, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter,” BBC reported a spokesperson from the group told the Pakistan’s Express Tribune.
The suicide bomber detonated explosives in a vest during rush hour at one of the largest public parks in east Pakistan, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, the New York Times reported. He was a few feet away from a children’s play area when the blast occurred.
Pakistan has decided to launch a parliamentary crackdown on Islamist militants, Reuters reported. It was Jamaat-ur-Ahrar’s fifth bombing since December. The crackdown comes after a direct challenge to the Pakistan government from the group’s spokesperson, Ehsanullah Ehsan.
“We want to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore,” he said, according to an article from Al Jeezera. “He can do what he wants but he won’t be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks.”
The majority of Pakistan’s population is Muslim, but it also has a community of more than 2 million Christians, according to Reuters. Two days prior to the blast, Pakistani Christians celebrated Good Friday at St. Anthony’s church in Lahore.
Preceding the attacks in Brussels, there was a wave of terror attacks in Turkey, the Ivory Coast and Yemen largely ignored by the world. For further reading on these attacks, watch the New York Times‘ video on the “Forgotten victims of terror.”