Mass arrests follow Lahore bombing | News | DW | 29.03.2016
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Mass arrests follow Lahore bombing

Pakistan has rounded up more than 5,000 suspects in the two days since a suicide bomber killed at least 72 people in a park in Lahore at Easter. Most have since been released but more than 200 remain in custody.

Officials in Pakistan said Tuesday they arrested 5,221 suspects for alleged links with Islamist extremists after a Taliban bomber struck a park in Lahore over the weekend.

Of those arrested, 5,005 were released again early on Tuesday, the justice minister of the Punjab province, Rana Sanaullah, said. At least 216 individuals remained in police detention.

The sweeping raids aimed at anyone suspected of violent Islamist extremism came as the Taliban faction claiming responsibility for the attack issued a new threat Tuesday directed at the press.

"Everyone will get their turn in this war, especially the slave Pakistani media," Ahsanullah Ahsan, spokesman for Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, tweeted. "We are just waiting for the appropriate time."

The Easter Sunday suicide bombing was Pakistan's deadliest since a 2014 school massacre claimed by the Taliban killed 134 pupils.

Lahore - Bombenanschlag auf Christen

Pakistani Christians, who number around 2 million in a nation of 190 million people, have been the target of a series of attacks in recent years

Islamist militancy on the rise

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a militant Islamic fundamentalist group, has claimed five major attacks in Pakistan since December.

This comes as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered law enforcement agencies to speed up the offensive against the Islamist militants.

"I want more proactive coordination between law enforcement and intelligence agencies," the premier said Monday. "The terrorists have assassinated our children - sons and daughters - and God willing, we will wipe them out from this country."

All city parks in Lahore remained shut on Tuesday, while other cities in Pakistan tightened security in public areas.

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