Over 50 people have been killed and over 150 injured following an attack by a suicide bomber on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border that separates India and Pakistan. According to the Times Of India, the incident happened on Sunday evening a few minutes after the customary flag-lowering function was conducted at the border between the two countries.
According to reports, terrorist organization Jundullah, a group affiliated to the Pakistani Taliban, has taken responsibility for the attack. However, several Pakistani media outlets have said that the al-Qaeda linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which had split from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, has also claimed responsibility. Fox News reports that the attacker in this incident of suicide bombing was a young man aged between 18 and 22. The explosion happened outside a crowded restaurant that was catering to the large crowd of people assembled on the Pakistani side of the border. According to a senior Pakistani Rangers officer, Tahir Khan, the explosion happened very close to the Indian border.
“The parade venue is about 600 meters ahead of the blast site. The suicide bomber detonated the bomb away from the parade venue because of the strict checking. If the blast had occurred close to the border gate, the devastation would have been far greater.”
The attacker was, however, able to cross as many as four security checkpoints with his suicide belt on, thereby questioning the security apparatus that was in place at the location at the time of the attack. According to Pakistani Punjab interior minister Shuja Khanzada, the attacker was waiting for the flag hoisting ceremony to end to detonate his explosive. He added that the attacker’s ultimate aim was to get close to the soldiers stationed near the border.
Meanwhile, at least 58 people have been confirmed dead following the blast. The list of the dead included 10 women and five children. Of the 150 injured, the condition of at least 20 people are reported to be serious. The death toll, for the same reason, is likely to rise. The injured people were admitted to the nearby hospitals.
The Wagah border is the only functional land border crossing between India and Pakistan. It is famous for the flag lowering function that is held there every evening. The function is watched by a large audience of both the countries on either sides of the border. The area, for the same reason, has become a major tourist attraction. The latest attack near the Wagah border is just one of the many suicide attacks that have hit Pakistan in 2014.
[Image via NDTV/AFP]