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Suspected Taliban Bombing Kills At Least 45 Near Pakistan-India Border

The suspected suicide bombing occurred almost one year exactly after a drone strike killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

by Liz Fields
Nov 2 2014, 5:20pm

Photo by K.M. Chaudary/AP

At least 45 people were killed and 70 wounded Sunday in a suspected suicide bombing attack on a paramilitary checkpoint along Pakistan's eastern border with India, police said.

Authorities are investigating the attack, which took place at the Wagah border crossing on the outskirts of Lahore, Punjab provincial police chief Mushtaq Sukhera told the Associated Press.

Many of the wounded are in critical condition and the death toll is expected to rise in coming hours, Sukhera said.

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A witness speaks to Geo News-Geo Reports in the aftermath of the bombing.

The bombing occurred around 6:15pm local time as hundreds gathered to witness a flag hoisting ceremony. The group Tehrik-i-Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred almost one year exactly after a drone strike killed the group's leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

"I was sitting in my office near the border when I heard the blast. I rushed to the scene and saw scattered bodies, injured men, women and children and smashed cars," a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters.

There are conflicting reports of the cause of the blast. Some local media put the explosion down to a gas cylinder.

Officials previously stated that it was a planned suicide bombing, and said that they had received an intelligence report ahead of time that a blast could occur in the city.

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"According to initial information it was a suicide attack," Inspector General of Punjab Police, Mushtaq Sukhera, told local television channels. "When… security was a bit relaxed, the suicide attacker blew himself up near a restaurant."

The Pakistani Taliban and allied militant groups have a long history of committing suicide attacks as they have pursued a violent campaign to overthrow the government and establish a hardline Islamist caliphate.

Thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in Taliban bombings in the last decade.

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Follow Liz Fields on Twitter:@lianzifields