LAHORE, March 4: Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the prestigious Navy War College on the Mall Road on Tuesday, killing four Navy employees and injuring 21 others, witnesses said.

A war-related course was in progress in a lecture room adjacent to the parking lot when the bombers blew themselves up, a witness who was inside the college at the time of the blast told Dawn.

Army and Naval police cordoned off the place and the main road, blocking the media’s access to the scene.

Capital City Police Officer Malik Muhammad Iqbal earlier confirmed five deaths, including those of the two bombers.

Rescue 1122 spokesman Faheem Jehan Zaib said his staff provided first aid to four injured people, took 13 critically injured persons to the Combined Military Hospital and four to the Services Hospital.

DIG (investigation) Chaudhry Tassaduq Hussain told Dawn that initial investigation had revealed that two suicide bombers riding a motorcycle reached the gate of the war college reserved for car parking at around 1pm.

The first bomber blew himself up at the gate, destroying it and killing security guard Akhtar Husain and sanitary worker Thamis. The second suicide bomber, who too was riding a motorbike, then entered the college premises and blew himself up in the middle of the parking lot, killing Subedar Major Khalid Farooq and Anwarul Haq and injuring 20 people, the DIG said.

The second blast was so powerful that three cars, two coaches, an ambulance and two buses caught fire, the DIG said. He said the third blast was caused by a car gas cylinder that exploded after the vehicle caught fire.The blast damaged the adjacent wall of the National Accountability Bureau’s Punjab office, where a routine meeting was taking place.

Windowpanes of adjacent buildings were shattered by the force of the blast.

Trees in front of the college’s damaged main gate and footpath bore marks of ball-bearings used in the attacks.

“The blasts shook our entire building, setting off alarms of vehicles parked around the plaza,” said Muhammad Usman, an airline employee at one of the offices, some five kilometres away from the college.

The boom of the blast was heard several kilometres away, setting off panic among the people.

Officials of City Fire Brigade and Rescue 1122 extinguished the fire within three to four minutes, fire-fighter Nadeem Salvestor told Dawn.

Police found the head of one of the suicide bombers from an adjacent house of a top government official and collected limbs scattered all over the place.

Mr Tassaduq said that police had recovered the upper part of the body of the first suicide bomber, besides collecting skull, hairs, hands, fingers and some other limbs of the second bomber and sent them for a DNA test.

A PAF worker, who was also injured, said that he heard the blast while sitting in the college canteen.

“When I came out, the second blast took place. I saw smoke and fire engulfing the vehicles and at least three injured were lying on the ground, bleeding profusely,” he said.

“We picked up the first injured from a place near the kitchen. Before we could provide him any treatment, he died. His body was taken to the CMH Hospital,” a Rescue 112 worker said.

Talking to journalists, CCPO Malik Iqbal said that the bombers had not been identified so far.

The Race Course Police have registered an FIR on the complaint of the Pakistan Navy.



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