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Twin suicide blasts kill at least 43 in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan - A pair of suicide bombers targeting army vehicles detonated explosives within seconds of each other Friday, killing at least 43 people in this eastern city and wounding about 100, police said. It was the fourth major attack in Pakistan this week, indicating Islamist militants are stepping up violence after a period of relative calm.

Hours later, another explosion shook Lahore but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries. Police officials said that blast apparently resulted from loose explosives - not a packed bomb - left beside a Lahore house. There were no other immediate details.

About 10 of those killed in the twin blasts were soldiers, said Lahore police chief Parvaiz Rathore.

The bombers, who were on foot, struck RA Bazaar, a residential and commercial neighborhood where several security agencies have facilities. Security forces swarmed the area as thick black smoke rose into the sky and bystanders rushed the injured into ambulances.

Video being shot with a mobile phone just after the first explosion showed a large burst of orange flame suddenly erupting in the street, according to GEO TV, which broadcast a short clip of the footage shot by Tabraiz Bukhari.

The militants are believed to have been behind scores of attacks in U.S.-allied Pakistan over the last several years, including a series of strikes that began in October and lasted around three months, killing some 600 people in apparent retaliation for an army offensive along the Afghan border.

Rana Sanaullah Khan, the law minister for Punjab state, where Lahore is located, said the renewed attacks are a "sign of desperation" by the militants.

"We broke their networks. That's why they have not been able to strike for a considerable time," he said.

But the attacks show that the loose network of insurgents angry with Islamabad for its alliance with the United States retain the ability to strike throughout Pakistan despite pressure from army offensives and American missile airstrikes.

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