Militant suicide bombers attacked Easter celebrators in Lahore this past Sunday, leading to a death toll of over 70 with 341 people injured. The city has declared three days of mourning and a state of emergency, closing schools and markets.
The suicide bombings occurred at Gulshan-e-Iqbal park, Lahore’s largest amusement park, where innocent civilians had gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday. The bombs were set off near a children’s swing set in the park’s parking lot. Many are enraged that the attack targeted children indiscriminately. Jamaat-e-Ahrar, a branch of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. It announced that it had targeted Christians, though more Muslims than Christians were injured in the attack. In the same announcement, the spokesman for Jamaat-e-Ahrar, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said that the bombings were meant to act as a reminder to the Pakistani government, that “it cannot deter [Jamaat-e-Ahrar] even in [the government’s] stronghold, Lahore.”
The Pakistani authorities have repudiated the attack, saying that attacks such as these “deepen our shared resolve to defeat terrorism around the world.” Pope Francis called the bombings “vile and abominable” and encouraged authorities to “make every effort to restore security and serenity.”
This is the third attack in Pakistan this month, after a bomb went off at a court in Peshawar and on a bus carrying officials, killing a total of 30.