4 killed in Lahore mosque blast

11 Oct 2004

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LAHORE, Oct 10: Four people, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed and 10 injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the entrance of Jamia Masjid Kashmirian in Mochi Gate here on Sunday.

"The death toll might have been higher had the suicide bomber managed to enter the mosque," residents of the Mohala Shian said. According to eyewitnesses, Agha Jaffer and Dilbar Khan stood guard at the mosque's entrance at Chowk Nawab to scan people coming for the Magrib prayers when they stopped a young man for body search.

On his refusal, Jaffer tried to overpower him while Khan pointed a gun at him. At that time, the man detonated the explosives he had wrapped around his body. The three of them and a boy who was entering the mosque were killed on the spot. The boy was identified as Salman Ali, a class VII student.

The entrance was littered with limbs of the dead and the ground splattered with blood. The explosion broke the window panes of the mosque and nearby houses. The blast occurred exactly at 5.55pm which could also be noted through the mosque's watches hung on the main gate and inside.

"Over 70 people were offering prayers when a powerful explosion occurred," said Ali Tauqeer who was performing ablution at the time. He said the man who detonated the explosives was clad in shalwar kamiz and was aged between 25 and 30 years. Tauqeer also sustained minor injuries.

The injured were taken to the Mayo Hospital where the condition of 10-year-old Husain Mehdi with 35 per cent burns and 50-year-old Bashir was stated to be critical. The remaining injured were identified as Asad Ali (26), Naseer (35), Bashir Ahmed (36), Qasar (32), Bilal (35), Agha Husain and Ghulam Raza.

Dr M Abdullah at the Mayo Hospital told Dawn that most of the injured suffered limb injuries and would be discharged in a day or two. Police, bomb disposal squad and other civic agencies reached the scene immediately after the incident. A bomb disposal squad official told Dawn that the head of the suicide bomber had been found intact.