2 Jul 2010

Triple suicide bomb attack kills 40 at shrine

9:58 pm on 2 July 2010

At least 40 people have been killed in a triple suicide bomb attack on a Sufi shrine in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore.

A city official says one attack took place at the gate of the shrine and two were in the basement.

Thousands of devotees were visiting the shrine of a Persian Sufi saint, Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery, when the bombers struck. Officials say that at least 175 people were injured.

Police in Pakistan had earlier been congratulating themselves that last month was the first for two years without any suicide bombings in the country.

Devices packed with ball-bearings

The shrine at Data Darbar is one of the most famous in Pakistan, attracting hundreds of devotees every night. Hundreds of thousands of people from both the Sunni and Shia traditions of Islam visit it each year.

Officials say they believe the bombers used devices packed with ball-bearings to maximise the impact of their attack.

The complex includes a mosque and a police station in the basement.

The BBC reports trhat it's believed to be the first attack on a shrine in Lahore, which has suffered frequent violence in recent weeks. More than 80 people were killed in twin attacks on the mosques of the minority Ahmadi sect in May.