Two bombs injure 19 in Lahore

Timed devices placed in a parking lot and under a cart

Two small bombs went off at a market in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore late Wednesday, injuring 19 people, officials and police said.

The low intensity blasts targeted a fruit market in the congested downtown area of the city where people had gathered to buy fruits for their meals during the holy month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast.

"Two timed devices, one planted in the parking and the other one under a cart, exploded when people were buying fruits after breaking their fast in the evening," administration official Noorul Amin Mengal told AFP.

"Some 19 people have been injured in the blast," he said.

The rescue officials said all of the injured were male and have been taken to hospital.

The police said that security forces were already alerted, and had expected such activity.

"We killed a senior Taliban commander in Multan today, so we were expecting such kind of response from the terrorists. Although nobody has claimed this attack, we can't rule out the retaliation," police chief Habibur Rehman said.

Considered Pakistan's cultural capital and close to the Indian border, Lahore is a city of eight million that in 2010 suffered a string of high-profile bombings blamed on Taliban and Al Qaeda linked militants.

But since early 2011 it has been largely shielded from violence linked to the Islamist extremists based in Pakistan's border regions with Afghanistan in the northwest.

According to an AFP tally, around 5,000 people have been killed in militant attacks across the country since July 2007, when government troops raided an extremist mosque in the capital Islamabad, sparking a bloody insurgency.

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