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Taliban group threaten PM and media after Easter bombing

The Taliban faction who claimed to have carried out Easter Sunday's bomb attack in Pakistan have issued a new threat, singling out the nation's media and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

"Everyone will get their turn in this war, especially the slave Pakistani media," Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for extremist group Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, tweeted. "We are just waiting for the appropriate time."

Funerals have been held for the 70 victims of the attack, the most deadly since a Taliban massacre at a school killed 134 students in 2014. Credit: Reuters

Sunday's attack, which killed 70 people including 29 children, led to at least 160 raids that targeted anyone suspected of Islamist extremism after Mr Sharif announced new powers for arrests and interrogations.

Ehsan issued a direct to the Pakistani prime minister, tweeting: "Let Nawaz Sharif know that this war has now come to the threshold of his home. The winners of this war will, God willing, be the righteous mujahideen."

216 held after Pakistan military detain more than 5,000

Pakistan has held 216 suspects after a major sweep by the military and the police saw more than 5,000 detained over the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attack.

More than 70 people were killed after the suicide blast outside a public park in Lahore on Easter Sunday. Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to crack down on Islamist militants in the country after the attack claimed the lives of more than 70 people, including 29 children.

Mr Sharif announced new powers for the military to arrest and interrogate suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the bombing in a busy park in Lahore.

Rana Sanaullah, a state minister for Punjab province, confirmed 216 suspects had been referred for further investigation after the widespread raids over 48 hours by police, counter-terrorism and intelligence agents.


Pakistan vows to crack down on Islamist militants

Pakistan has vowed to crack down on Islamist militants in the country, after an Easter day suicide bombing targeting Christians killed more than 70 people - 29 of them children.

In Lahore today, the first of the funerals were held, while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the military new powers to arrest and interrogate suspected terrorists.

ITV News correspondent Romilly Weeks reports:

Pakistan PM: We will avenge every drop of blood spilled

Pakistan will "avenge every drop of blood" spilled in a suicide bomb attack at a public park on Easter Sunday, the country's Prime Minister has vowed.

Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, addressed the nation Credit: APTN

In an emotional televised address, Nawaz Sharif condemned a series of terrorist strikes across Pakistan in recent months - the latest of which left at least 70 people, including 29 children, dead and hundreds more injured.

My brothers and sisters, today again I am here to renew my commitment that we will avenge every drop of the blood of our martyred people and we are doing that, and we will not rest until we have accounted for everything to the end.

We will not let them raise their heads again, we will not allow them to play the lives of the people of Pakistan. This is my resolve, this is my government's resolve and this is the resolve of the 200 million people of Pakistan.

God willing, no terrorist can put a dent in our resolve.

– Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan

He said the army would forge on with its operation targeting militant hideouts, and said police would hunt down extremists.

The impact of the operations to date were the reason behind the terrorists choosing "soft targets" such as playgrounds and schools, he added.

Candlit vigil for victims of bombing in Lahore, Pakistan

A candlelit vigil has been held in Lahore, Pakistan, in honour of the victims of the Easter Sunday suicide bombing.

At least 70 people -including 29 children - were killed in the blast, which has been claimed by a faction of the Pakistani Taliban.

Civil rights activists and lawyers gathered at the vigil, calling for unity and holding placards condemning the bombing and reading: 'Terrorism has no religion' and 'No to Talibanization'.

First funerals held for those killed in Lahore bombing

Grieving family and friends gathered for the funerals of at least four of those killed in the Easter Sunday bombing in Lahore, Pakistan.

The funerals for those killed in the suicide bombing have started to take place Credit: Reuters

Christian celebrations held in a public park were targeted by the blasts, which killed at least 70 people - 29 of whom were children.

Hundreds more were injured.

The Pakistani Taliban's Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction, which once declared loyalty to the so-called Islamic State group, has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, which has been roundly condemned by world leaders including the Pope.

Grieving relatives mourn those killed Credit: Reuters

The Pakistani government has now launched a paramilitary crackdown on Islamist militants in the Punjab province, with several raids carried out since the attack resulting in an unspecified number of arrests and the recovery of caches of arms.

It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since the December 2014 massacre of 134 schoolchildren at a military-run academy in Peshawar.


Paramilitary crackdown to commence in Pakistan

Forensic experts inspect the scene of the bombing Credit: Reuters

Pakistan will launch a special paramilitary crackdown in the wake of last night's suicide bombings in Lahore.

Military sources said the government had granted them special powers to fight Islamist militants in Punjab, the country's most-populous province.

Pope demands minorities protection in Pakistan

Many Christians were among the victims Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis condemned the Easter Sunday suicide bomb in Lahore, Pakistan - which killed 70 people, including many Christians - as "hideous".

Addressing crowds in St Peter's Square, he demanded Pakistan's government afford more protection to religious minorities.

The Pope described last night's attack as a "vile and senseless crime".

I appeal to civil authorities and all sectors of that nation to make every effort to restore security and serenity to the population, and in particular to the most vulnerable religious minorities.

– Pope Francis

Death toll from play park bombing in Lahore rises to 70

The death toll from the suicide bomb attack in Lahore has risen to at least 70.

Rescue services spokeswoman Deeba Shahnaz said at least 70 people were killed and about 340 were wounded, with 25 in serious condition.

It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since theDecember2014 massacre of 134 school children at a military run academy in the city of Peshawar.

Lahore is the capital of Pakistan's richest province, Punjab, and is seen as the country's political and cultural heartland.

Pakistani Christians targeted by Taliban bomb in Lahore

Video report by ITV News' Helen Callaghan.

A small Christian community was the target of a suicide bombing at a public park in Lahore, Pakistan.

A faction of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened near to where children were playing on swings and rides.

Many of the victims were women and children and witnesses described distressing scenes of chaos.

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