ISLAMABAD, July 24 (Xinhua) -- At least 26 people were killed and 49 others injured as a suicide blast hit the downtown area of Pakistan's eastern city Lahore Monday afternoon, officials said.
Khawaja Salman Rafique, health minister of the country's eastern Punjab province, said that so far 26 people, including nine policemen, have lost their lives in the blast while 49 others are under treatment at three different hospitals in the city.
Hospital sources said that the death toll might further rise as at least 15 of the injured are still in critical condition.
According to local media reports, the blast took place at about 4:00 p.m. local time when a suicide bomber hit policemen escorting a local anti-encroachment team demolishing illegal buildings of a vegetable market near a Technology Park in downtown Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province.
Haider Ashraf, deputy inspector general of police, confirmed that it was a suicide blast and the target was the police, adding that two police inspectors are among the deceased.
Ashraf said the bomber hit the policemen when they were having a roadside meeting to establish check posts to stop encroachers to enter the vegetable market.
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