A suspected suicide bombing on Wednesday near a police checkpoint killed five police and four bystanders and wounded 27 others near the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan, police said.
Lahore Police Chief Haider Ashraf said evidence collected from the scene suggested that it was a suicide attack.
However, investigators and explosives experts were working to ascertain whether the bomb was planted near the checkpoint.
He said he believes the police were targeted.
The checkpoint is located near a religious group’s main congregation place in Raiwind near Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province.
Evidence at the scene suggested a motorcycle was used, Ashraf said.
Police said the blast took place after evening prayers and most members of the religious group had exited into the street, some making purchases nearby.
Many of the wounded were police, and three were hospitalized in a critical condition, Ashraf said.
Other wounded included members of the Muslim preaching group known as Tablighi Jamaat.
The main country’s Taliban group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying that it was a suicide attack.
Lahore and its surroundings have seen many bomb and suicide attacks in recent years, killing scores.
A suicide attack near a software technology park in Lahore killed 26 people and wounded more than 50 in July last year.
Three months earlier, a suicide bombing targeted a Pakistani government census team, killing at least six people in Lahore.
In February last year, 18 people were killed, including several police officials, and more than 80 wounded in a suicide attack during a protest on a busy intersection of Lahore.
On Easter Sunday in 2016, at least 75 people were killed and hundreds other wounded in a suicide bombing that hit the main entrance of a park.
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