Explosion near Sufi shrine in Lahore, Pakistan kills 5

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The blast may have been "a suicide attack" on a security vehicle, police official Muhammad Kashif said. He said hundreds of pilgrims were inside and outside the shrine when the blast took place. "The target was a vehicle of the elite force that was stationed outside the gate for checking", he said. Punjab Inspector General Police Arif Nawaz told reporters that it was a suicide attack and 7kg of explosives were used in the blast. Prime Minister Imran Khan and other leaders condemned the attack. More updates are awaited.

According to initial police reports, the blast targetted a van carrying the Elite Force of Punjab Police, Geo news reported.

According to Rescue 1122, injured have been shifted to Mayo Hospital.

"God willing, the security forces with the cooperation of whole nation will defeat these terrorists", he added. Sunni extremists view Sufism with hostility and have carried out attacks on Sufi celebrations and shrines across the Muslim world.

At least nine people have been killed in a bombing at a shrine in the Pakistan city of Lahore.

Police put up checkpoints on main thoroughfares leading to the shrine and hospitals were placed on alert, officials said.

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"It was an attack on police that left several dead and dozens of policemen and civilians injured".

It has been targeted before in 2010 when a suicide attack killed 50 people and injured over 200.

One of the largest Sufi shrines in South Asia, Data Darbar dates back to the 11th century and houses the remains of eminent Muslim scholar Abul Hasan Ali Bin Usman, more popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri.

Blast outside Data Darbar.

"We condemn this cowardly act", he said and also confirmed it was suicide attack.

Major urban centres such as Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city and the provincial capital of its wealthiest province, Punjab, are not immune.

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