At least nine killed, several injured in blast outside Sufi shrine

4 killed in bomb blast outside Sufi shrine Data Durbar in Pakistan’s Lahore, several injured

City police chief Ghazanfar Ali said police officers were the apparent target of bombing outside the shrine which is known as Data Darbar, and where a famous Sufi saint Ali Hajveri is buried.

"The blast took place around 8:45am outside Gate number 2, where the police personnel were deployed for security", he said. We are collecting forensic evidences to ascertain the nature of the blast.

Sufi worshippers, who follow a mystical strain of Islam, have frequently been the target of bloody attacks by Islamist militants including the Islamic State group in Pakistan. More updates are awaited.

Senior police official Ashfaq Ahmed Khan told reporters those killed included three police officers, one private security guard and one civilian. The injured were shifted to the Mayo Hospital in Lahore. The blast reportedly targeted security forces guarding the shrine.

"Those who carry out terrorist attacks on Sufi shrines are certainly not Muslims", he said while adding that such "anti-Pakistan" elements should not be tolerated.

Many people were wounded and Muhammad Farooq, a spokeperson for the city's rescue services, said at least seven or eight of them were in critical condition.

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A police investigation has been launched as access to the shrine has been blocked. Security forces cordoned off the area and a unit of the bomb disposal squad reached the spot to collect samples of the explosive used in the blast.

"People should remain aware of their surroundings when going to pray", said a Punjab provincial minister, Mian Aslam.

Suicide bombers blew themselves up at the shrine in 2010, killing 50 people and injuring at least 200 others.

The structure of the shrine was also damaged in the attack.

Over the last two years, Lahore has been free of the kind of attacks that were once common.

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