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Pakistan Detains More Than 5,000 Suspected Militants After Easter Bombing

Investigators Hunt For Clues Behind Lahore Attack (video grab).
Investigators Hunt For Clues Behind Lahore Attack (video grab).

A provincial minister in Pakistan says more than 5,000 suspected militants have been rounded up since a suicide bomber targeted a busy park in Lahore on March 27, killing at least 70 people.

Investigators later released all but 216 suspects, Rana Sanaullah, a state minister for Punjab Province, said on March 29.

He said the raids were carried out by a mixture of police, counterterrorism, and intelligence agents and confirmed that army and paramilitary forces would be used in future operations.

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombing on March 27, saying it had targeted Christians celebrating Easter and warning it would step up attacks.

A spokesman for the Taliban faction taunted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on March 29.

"Let Nawaz Sharif know that this war has now come to the threshold of his home," tweeted Jamaat-ur-Ahrar spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

In a televised address to the nation on March 28, Sharif vowed to continue pursuing militant groups.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP