Pakistan explosion death toll rises to 63

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A suicide blast in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore has killed at least 63 people, a senior police official told CNN.

More than 300 others were injured, police official Haider Ashraf said.

Officials said the blast was from a suicide bomber and happened at the city’s Gulshan Iqbal Park.

The explosion ripped through the heart of Lahore on Sunday evening, at a time when many families were at the park.

Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast, expressing grief for the victims.


Taliban splinter group claims responsibility

A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the bombing, a member of the group told CNN.

The attack targeted people in a park celebrating Easter, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said.

He said that such attacks will continue.

International condemnation

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has worked to thaw the icy relations between the two neighbors, called Sharif on Sunday to express his grief over the bombing.

The Indian leader expressed solidarity with Pakistan, the Pakistani state-run news agency reported.

“Modi said coward terrorists had targeted females and kids which was highly condemnable and regrettable,” according to the state-run agency, the Associated Press of Pakistan.

The United States also condemned the attack.

“This cowardly act in what has long been a scenic and placid park has killed dozens of innocent civilians and left scores injured,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.