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LAHORE:
A bomb explosion in Lahore's Johar Town residential area on Wednesday killed at least three people and caused significant damage to surrounding residences and parked vehicles.

At least 21 people were wounded in the attack. Some of those, including children, are in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Inspector General Punjab Police Inam Ghani said the attack was conducted using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). A car parked close to a house had exploded, setting ablaze nearby cars and motorcycles, a witness, Fahim Ahmad, told reporters at the scene.

Among those wounded in the powerful blast were some police officers manning a checkpoint next to the house of Hafiz Saeed, the jailed chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

"Apparently what we see is that our law enforcement agencies are the target," Ghani told reporters. "You can see our police officials are also wounded." Not ruling out the possibility of foreign involvement in the attack, the province’s top cop said the police has received 65 threat alerts recently.

Ghani said police were investigating whether the explosives were detonated remotely or by a suicide bomber. If not for the police checkpoint, the car could have reached Saeed's house, he added.

"Our investigators and officials from bomb disposal squad are working to find out any clue to what exactly happened," city police chief Ghulam Mahmood Dogar told reporters.

The injured were shifted to nearby medical facilities as a tight security cordon was established around the area by law enforcers.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the blast and directed the province's top police official to submit a report on the incident.

Buzdar also instructed the concerned authorities to provide the best possible medical treatment to the injured.

Earlier in April, four children and a woman were killed and 12 other people injured after a gas leak caused an explosion in Lahore's Burki area.

Two houses collapsed due to the explosion. A gas leakage occurred in a house during the night. The gas accumulated in rooms due to closed doors and when someone woke up in the morning and turned on the light of a washroom, a spark in the switch caused an explosion, due to which the roof of the house collapsed.

Similar explosions took place two years ago in the Defence area and six months ago at a bank near Chauburji. No casualties were reported but nearby buildings were damaged and panic spread in the areas after the earlier incidents.

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