Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has strongly condemned a terrorist bomb attack in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, reaffirming the need to continue the fight against terrorist groups across the region.
Saeed Khatibzadeh’s statements came after at least two people were killed and 22 wounded on Thursday during a bomb blast in a busy shopping district of the Pakistani megacity of Lahore.
A newly formed separatist group based in southwestern Balochistan province claimed responsibility in a text message sent to a Reuters reporter.
"This attack targeted bank employees. A detailed statement will be issued soon," a spokesman for the Baloch Nationalist Army said on Twitter.
"It was a bomb blast," a police spokesman, Arif Rana, told Reuters, adding that a time device rigged to a motorcycle exploded outside a shop in the market. He noted that a nine-year-old boy is among the three dead.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed regret over the "loss of precious human lives," a spokesman for his office told reporters.
“Such terrorist attacks once again highlight the necessity for fighting against terrorist groups in order to establish peace and calm in the region,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Khatibzadeh also expressed sympathy with victims of the terrorist attack, their families, and the friendly government of Pakistan.
Separatists in Pakistan’s Balochistan province have previously claimed several attacks across the mineral-rich province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran and is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces.
Since December, Pakistan has seen a string of blasts and attacks against its police force after a truce between the government and Pakistan's Taliban expired.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a home-grown militant group, has claimed responsibility for most recent attacks.
The TTP said earlier this week that it was responsible for a deadly shootout in Islamabad on Monday night during which a police officer was killed and two others injured.
Police said both attackers were killed while Pakistan's interior minister warned of the potential for further violence.
Pakistan's government announced late last year that it had entered a month-long truce with the TTP, facilitated by Afghanistan's Taliban, but the truce expired on December 9 last year after peace talks failed to make progress.
The TTP has been blamed for hundreds of bomb attacks and kidnappings across the country.