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Dozens held in Pakistan suicide bombings

Pakistani police have detained "scores" of militants after two suicide attacks killed 27 people this week in the eastern city of Lahore, officials said Thursday.
Image: An official of the Federal Invesigation Agency looks at the damage to his office building after a suicide bombing in Lahore on March 12.
An official surveys damage at the Federal Investigation Agency building in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday. The site was targeted in a suicide bombing a day earlier.Km Chaudary / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Police have detained "scores" of militants after two suicide attacks killed 27 people this week in the Pakistani city of Lahore, officials said Thursday.

The detainees, who are suspected of being members of outlawed domestic militant groups, were picked up in raids Tuesday and Wednesday across Punjab province, police said.

None of those arrested were believed directly involved in Tuesday's attacks in Lahore, where suicide bombers struck a federal police building and a home.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Lahore attacks, but the city's chief of police operations, Tariq Khokhar, said officers were following several leads and hoped they would soon capture those responsible.

"We are picking up members of the banned groups. It is an ongoing process," he said.

Khokhar would say only that "scores" of suspects were in police custody. But other government and police officials said that so far, 90 people have been detained.

The officials, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of their jobs, provided no further details.

"We are questioning them in an attempt to find leads for the bombings in Lahore and to prevent any more such tragic incidents," Khokhar said, without providing any further details.

Tuesday's bombings tore the facade from a seven-story federal police headquarters in Lahore, Sharif's stronghold. About 15 minutes later, a similar attack badly damaged a home in an upscale residential neighborhood.

The bombings in Lahore were the first major acts of terrorism since a recent announcement by slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's party and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that they would form a coalition government.

The parties of Sharif and Bhutto -- who died in a Dec. 27 suicide and gun attack near the capital, Islamabad -- together won a majority of seats in the Feb. 18 parliamentary elections, defeating allies of U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf.