|Wagah border suicide attack|
واہگہ بارڈر خودکش حملہ
Location of Lahore in Punjab
|Location||Wagah, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Date||November 2, 2014 |
|Motive||Retaliation against Operation Zarb-e-Azb|
On the midnight of 9 January 2015, the FIA team led by special agents reportedly hunted and killed the mastermind of the attack in a police encounter which took place in Lahore. The Pakistan government officials confirmed the veracity of the reports.
A daily ceremonial closing of the border between India and Pakistan takes place at the Wagah border with tourists sitting on the respective sides of the border observing.
According to an unnamed official, the American and Pakistan intelligence communities had prior knowledge of such attack and had been alerted about the mode of a possible attack at the Wagah border. They were informed about a missing young boy who might be used as a would-be suicide bomber. The commissioner police Captain (retired) Amin Waince said the CID police had conveyed the threat about possible suicide attack to the Rangers at Wagah Border on 1 November.
The bomb blast occurred outside a restaurant in a parking area near a Pakistani paramilitary soldiers’ checkpoint. Up to 25 kg (55 lb) of explosive material was used in the blast. Footage showed destroyed shops and nearby buildings at the site of the blast.
Preliminary reports regarding the nature of the explosion had suggested that a gas cylinder exploded. Later on, Director General Rangers Punjab Khan Tahir Khan confirmed that the explosion was a suicide blast saying that "the parade venue is about 600 metres (2,000 ft) ahead of the blast site. Because of the strict checking, the suicide bomber detonated the bomb away from the parade venue." The bomber was said to have detonated his explosives as close to the security checkpoint as possible seeing as he would be unable to cross into the stands where more people were seated.
Security personnel conducted a search operation in the areas adjoining the Wagah border crossing near Lahore. They recovered a lot of explosives and suicide vests, which were defused after intelligence agencies received information regarding the presence of a 'suspicious person' in the area.
At least 60 people were killed and over 100 people were injured. The Punjab government declared a state of emergency in all the public sector hospitals in Lahore. Victims included 10 women and eight children. Eight people from one family were also killed in the blast.
The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar splinter group of the banned TTP claimed responsibility for the attack as its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, speaking to Dawn on telephone from Afghanistan, said it was carried out by one of their men. "Some other groups have claimed responsibility of this attack, but these claims are baseless. We will soon release the video of this attack. This attack is revenge for the killing of innocent people in North Waziristan," the militant group's spokesman said. Pakistan's intelligence community quickly identified the mastermind of the attack and determined the attack planned by the Roohullah— a senior terrorist operative of the TTP Lahore chapter.
A spokesman for the militant group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Ehsanullah Ehsan, released details and photo of a man they claim carried out the suicide bombing. He told Dawn.com that 25-year-old Hanifullah alias Hamza carried out the attack.
Since the attack took place, the FIA, IB and other law enforcement agencies had been on a massive manhunt for the mastermind of the attack, Rahooullah (alias: Asadullah). On a midnight of 9 January 2015, the special agents of FIA's counterterrorism wing, aided by the Punjab Police, raided a house in Lahore. After a two-hour long gun battle, Rahooullah was reportedly gunned down in a deadly police encounter, along with his three associates.