At least 26 people died in the blasts, one hitting the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) police headquarters and destroying nearby key Christian buildings, and the other targeting an advertising firm, police and Christian officials said.
"The impact of the blast was so powerful that it broke all the windows and doors of [our office]," said Atif Jamil, National Director of Christian aid agency Caritas, located near the FIA complex.
He told BosNewsLife that the blasts killed "the watchman of the Caritas office, two female Christian receptionists and a trainee," identified as Clara Yousaf. In addition, "The head of one of the suicide bombers has been found lying on top of the roof of the Caritas building," he told BosNewsLife.
MORE BUILDINGS DAMAGED
Besides Caritas, the FIA building in the Regal Chowk area of Lahore is surrounded by buildings of the religious Sacred Heart Boys High School, Christian book center ‘Daughter’s of Saint Paul’, the Catholic Educational Diocesan Board, the Catholic Cathedral Church, and the residence and office of Catholic Bishop Lawrence J. Syldanna and his Lahore Diocese.
Witness Sajjid Iqbal, a sports teacher at Sacred Heart Boys High School, told BosNewsLife that the blast "jolted" the school "in such a bad manner that the bricks started falling from the roof of the school and injured Watchman Pervez Masih’s head." He later died of his injuries at a nearby hospital, Iqbal said.
Iqbal added that the walls of the nearby residence of the bishop Syldannal "caved in" killing the teenaged daughter of his driver. Iqbal said about 100 Christian students and three teachers have been hospitalized at Services Hospital, Lahore, for a variety of injuries. The shock waves also broke window panes and extirpated doors of the Catholic Cathedral Church.
It was not clear who was responsible for the attacks but at least one official told French News Agency AFP that terror group Al-Qaeda was behind the blast. . "This is an Al-Qaeda-style bombing, like we see in North Africa and Iraq," an official from the unit told AFP. The FIA mainly deals with immigration and people-smuggling but the building also housed the offices of a US-trained counter-terrorism unit.
A newly elected member of the parliament of Punjab Province where the blasts took place condemned the attacks.
Punjab Assembly legislator Khalil Tahir Sindhu said the explosions had left Christians severely injured, including a nun. It comes amid growing concerns within the Christian community about a wave of Islamist-linked violence that has killed more than 600 people this year.
They also prompted the Australian cricket team to cancel an upcoming tour to Pakistan, citing security fears. "I have never seen such a deadly suicide attack," Federal Investigation Agency chief Tariq Pervaz told reporters outside the badly damaged eight-storey headquarters in the heart of the city.