ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — In the fifth terrorist attack this week in Pakistan, extremists set off twin suicide bombs Friday in the eastern city of Lahore, killing at least 43 people, a reminder of the continued threat to the country despite an overall decline in violence.
The bloodiest strike in Pakistan this year saw twin attackers, on foot and wearing suicide jackets, detonate themselves in a busy market in a high-security military district in Lahore. The targets appeared to be passing military vehicles, but most of the victims were civilians.
Children crossing the road and people waiting at a bus stop were among the casualties of the blasts, which also ripped apart shops in the market. Witnesses said bodies, some with missing limbs, were scattered across the area. Ten soldiers were among the dead, according to Lahore police Chief Parvaiz Rathore. About 100 people were wounded.
"There were about 10 to 15 seconds between the blasts. Both were suicide attacks," a senior local government official, Sajjad Bhutta, said at the site.
The bombers struck at 1 p.m., around the time of Friday prayers, in the cantonment area of Lahore, home to the local army garrison and one of the city's most affluent residential districts. Lahore is the bustling cultural hub of Pakistan, which had enjoyed a period of relative peace in recent weeks. It's also the capital of Punjab province, the country's most densely populated area and its political heartland.
It was the second bombing this week in Lahore, however, after the car bombing Monday of a police interrogation center, which killed 14 people. The other attacks in Pakistan this week included a gun and grenade assault on the office of World Vision, a U.S.-based Christian aid agency, in the North West Frontier province, killing six Pakistani nationals on its staff.