Rabat - A member of Jamaat Al-Ahraar - a terrorist group affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban - carried out a suicide bombing at Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore on Sunday, killing at least 72 people, according to Pakistani media.
Rabat – A member of Jamaat Al-Ahraar – a terrorist group affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban – carried out a suicide bombing at Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore on Sunday, killing at least 72 people, according to Pakistani media.
The attack was meant to target Christians families celebrating Easter at the park, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said the spokesperson for the group – previously aligned with the so-called “Islamic State.”
Reuters reported that at least 29 of the victims who died were children.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attacks in his hometown. Several other national leaders, including the prime minister of India – Pakistan’s regional rival – sent their condolences to the South Asian country.
When news of the attacks reached international media, Facebook activated its “safety check” feature to allow the site’s users to report their status. The social media company had to release an apology soon afterwards as it had mistakenly activated the feature for residents of unaffected countries – including the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Egypt – and caused them to panic.
Some Facebook users received a text asking “Have you been affected by the explosion?” without an indication of the explosion’s location, according to The Guardian.
Residents of Pakistan, Pakistanis in the diaspora, as well as others have begun a social media campaign linked by the Twitter hashtag #PrayForLahore to demonstrate their criticism of the attacks and the attackers.
French President Francois Hollande tweeted his condemnation of the attack, though the Eiffel Tower will not be lit green and white for Pakistan as it had been colored black, yellow and red to represent the country’s solidarity against the terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier this week.
Belgium – the European country most recently targeted by ISIS – released a statement via its ministry of foreign affairs simultaneously condemning a suicide attack during a local football game in Iraq on Friday as well as the bombing in Pakistan’s cultural capital.
The United States sent their “deepest condolences” to Pakistan in a statement written by the country’s U.N. Security Council spokesman, Ned Price.
The administration of the Omni Hotel in Dallas – a Texas city known to have a growing population of Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans – lit the luxury hotel in the shape of the Pakistani flag Sunday night.
In response to the bombing, Pakistan will begin allowing a section of the national military called the Rangers to conduct raids and investigate militant safe havens in the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the region in which the attack’s organizers are based. The Rangers have been conducting similar operations in Karachi for the past two years.