Bombing near Pakistan home of anti-India militant kills 3

AP , Wednesday 23 Jun 2021

Last year, Pakistan sentenced Saeed to 15 years in jail in a terror-financing case, but he was never charged in connection with the Mumbai attacks

site of an explosion
Security officials inspect the site of an explosion that killed at least three people and wounded several others in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on June 23, 2021. AFP

A powerful car bomb went off near the residence of a jailed anti-India militant leader in the eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding 15 others, police and rescue officials said.

The blast happened in the Johar Town neighborhood, provincial police chief Inam Ghani told reporters. He said officers were still trying to determine whether it was a suicide bombing or the bomb was remotely detonated.

Ghani said some police officers were also among the wounded persons.

``It was a car bomb, but we are still trying to confirm whether it was a suicide bombing,`` he said.

He confirmed that the bombing happened near the residence of anti-India militant leader Hafiz Seed, who has been designated a terrorist by the U.S. Justice Department and has a $10 million bounty on his head.

Saeed is the founder of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

Lashkar-e-Taiba was active for years mainly in Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both in its entirety. In the Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir, rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India accuses Pakistan of backing rebels in the Indian part of Kashmir, a charge Pakistan denies. Pakistan says it only provides moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people, and that this support will continue until they get the right to self-determination under a UN resolution.

TV footage showed badly damaged homes, and many residents spoke of a bomb attack. Doctors say some of the wounded were in critical condition.

Ghani said police were guarding Saeed's house at the time of the attack. He said the attackers might have succeeded in targeting Saeed's home had police not set up a security post in the street where the bombing happened.

Saeed had been under house arrest. It was unclear whether the bombing caused any damage to his home, although the windows of dozens of homes were damaged.

Authorities blocked passageways to Saeed's home, citing security reasons.

Last year, Pakistan sentenced Saeed to 15 years in jail in a terror-financing case, but he was never charged in connection with the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations and they have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence in 1947.

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