Suicide Bomber Kills Six People in Pakistan
A suicide bomber has killed at least six people in eastern Pakistan, including several soldiers.
Authorities said that a van transporting census officials in Lahore, capital of the country’s most populous Punjab province, was the target of Wednesday’s attack. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing.
The blast wounded around 20 people. Provincial Minister of Health, Khwaja Imran Nazir, said three of them were in "critical" condition.
“Doctors are operating upon them, and God willing they will recover. The rest of the patients are in a stable condition,” he added.
An eyewitness told reporters he was sitting at home across the street with his family when they heard the blast.
“We came running here and saw bodies of the victims scattered all over while those wounded were crying for help,” the man said.
Counterterrorism officials retrieved body parts of the suspected bomber and an investigation has been launched into the attack, according to provincial police.
Pakistan last month went ahead with its first national census in 19 years, deploying around 120,000 civilian enumerators and 200,000 Pakistani troops to support them. The massive exercise is due to be concluded by the end of May.
The Pakistani Taliban has stepped up attacks in Pakistan since the beginning of this year, killing scores of people.
Islamabad alleges militants are plotting the violence against the country from their sanctuaries inside neighboring Afghanistan, charges Kabul rejects.
St. Petersburg Remains on Edge after Subway Bombing Attack
Russia's state investigative committee says it has arrested six Central Asian men in St. Petersburg on suspicion of aiding terrorist activity, two days after a deadly attack on a crowded subway train in that city.
The group is accused of recruiting other men from Central Asian republics to join Islamic State and other extremist groups since 2015. But the committee issued a statement saying no evidence has been uncovered linking the group to the bombing that killed 14 people and left dozens more injured.
Russian investigators have identified 22-year-old Kyrgyz-born Akbarzhon Dzhalilov as the suicide bomber who carried out the attack.
World leaders from China to Europe to Brazil expressed their condolences over the tragedy. U.S. President Donald Trump phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin and offered full support in responding to the attack.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the global outpouring Russia received reflected a common understanding of the need to join efforts to fight terrorism instead of trying, according to him, to “use extremists to reach narrow geopolitical goals.”
The attack has left St. Petersburg residents on edge.
“I think the atmosphere in the city is nervous,” said resident Anastasia. “People walk and they do not understand what is happening. The public transport is too busy and is not coping. It is scary for us.”
Russia is holding three days of mourning for those killed. President Putin overnight laid flowers near the bombing cite in St. Petersburg in tribute. Putin was in the city when the bombing occurred, the timing of which Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called “food for thought.”