LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Suspected Islamist militants detonated a car bomb in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing one woman and wounding four other people, police said.
Separately, suspected extremists shot and wounded a Chinese engineer as he shopped at a market in the northwest, where a wave of militant attacks has taken place.
The fresh violence came amid tensions between Pakistan and its neighbor India over the deadly attacks in Mumbai last month, which New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
The target of the Lahore blast was likely a police officer who headed an operation that led to the death of a leader of the al-Qaida linked militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in 2002, said Umer Virk, the head of the Crime Investigation Department.
The officer, Deputy Inspector Gen. Javed Shah, lived close to where the blast took place in the Mazang Chungi area, a heavily guarded Lahore district where many top government officials reside, said Virk.
The explosives were planted in a parked mini-truck, he said. The blast killed a woman and wounded four other members of a Christian family who were driving to a Christmas function, Virk said.
The vehicle that exploded bore an official government registration plate. It was obliterated, with pieces scattered for 200 yards (meters), while the wall of a nearby house collapsed.
Police officer Pervez Rathore said the truck apparently gained access to the neighborhood because of its official plates. The area is walled off and filled with guards.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a Sunni Muslim militant group blamed for killing hundreds of minority Shiites across Pakistan.
Its members have also been accused of attacks against Westerners in Karachi, the slaying of U.S journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 and the September truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
Islamist militants have carried out hundreds of bombings in the past two years, seeking to destabilize Pakistan’s U.S.-allied secular government. Most of the attacks occur in its northwest regions bordering Afghanistan, where the army is fighting al-Qaida and Taliban militants.
The Chinese engineer was with a bodyguard when he was attacked in the market in the Malakand area of the northwest, said police officer Nawab Khan.
Khan did not know the name of the victim, who worked at a hydroelectric power plant, nor the extent of his injuries. Militants in the northwest regular attack foreigners working or traveling there.