Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A well-coordinated attack involving gunmen and an explosives-packed van reduced a police building to rubble in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday.
Amid the confusion and the chaos in Pakistan’s second-largest city, various officials offered conflicting casualty counts — with almost all agreeing that at least 23 were killed. Most were police officers and staffers.
The blast also wounded more than 250, with one hospital — Sir Ganga Ram, itself damaged by the explosion — alone treating 128 victims.
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Authorities expected the death toll to rise as rescue workers pick through twisted metal and other debris, looking for more bodies.
The attack comes amid a Pakistani military offensive to remove militants from their haven in the northwestern part of the country.
Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban, had threatened to target major Pakistani cities if the operations did not cease.