Islamabad (dpa) – A suicide bomber Sunday blew himself up in a crowd gathered for a flag-hoisting ceremony at Pakistani border with India, killing 48 people and injuring more than 70 in the worse attack in months, police said.
Thousands of people attended the ceremony that is held every evening at the border near eastern city of Lahore, police official Mushtaq Sukhera said.
The attack occurred as the security across Pakistan was on high alert for the Shiite Muslim month of mourning, Sukhera said.
According to police official Ajmal Butt, the attack was carried out by a boy apparently in his teens who detonated a strip of explosives attached to his body.
Television footage showed ambulances rushing bodies and injured people to hospital in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province.
At least two officials from the paramilitary Rangers were among the dead, Sukhera said.
It is the deadliest attack since the Pakistani military launched an offensive against extremist militants linked to al-Qaeda in their so-called safe heavens in the country’s tribal region near Afghan border.
More than 1,100 militants have so far been killed in over four months of campaigning that started from mid-June, according to the military.
No group has so far claimed responsibility.