At least 55 people, including children and security personnel, were killed and nearly 200 injured in a powerful suicide blast at Wagah in Pakistan on Sunday evening, minutes after the popular flag-lowering ceremony at the main Indo-Pakistan land border crossing.
“A large number of people were returning after watching the Rangers flag ceremony at Wagah border when a suicide bomber blew himself up near one of the exit gates,” Inspector-General of Police, Punjab, Pakistan, Mushtaq Sukhera said. Three Pakistan Rangers personnel were dead.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jundullah group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Express News newspaper. Ahead of Muharram, the police had made strict security measures at the border crossing where crowds gather every evening to watch the pageantry that marks the closure of the border post. “We had reports that some banned outfits might target Shias, religious personalities, public processions and important buildings,” Mr. Sukhera said. The suicide bomber was stopped at the gate but detonated the bomb.
There will be no flag-lowering ceremony for three days from Monday at the request of Pakistan, BSF chief D.K. Pathak said.
Modi condemns attack
Expressing condolences to the families of the deceased, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack in a tweet.