LAHORE, Pakistan, May 28 (Xinhua) -- At least 68 people were killed and more than 70 others injured on Friday when two groups of unknown militants attacked two worship places almost simultaneously in eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, witnesses and TV channels reported.
The attacks were carried out at Garhi Shahu and Model Town Block C areas of Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province.
The militants, wearing suicide jackets and holding hand grenades,entered the worship places of a religious group Ahmadi, declared non-Muslims in Pakistani in early 1970s, and held hostage hundreds of worshipers in Garhi Shahu, witnesses said.
According to the local TV channels, almost after two hours of struggle the situation was brought under control.
Detainees came out from the Garhi Shahu worship place after police complete operation against terrorists.
Police said earlier that security forces had completed the operation at Model Town and killed five militants.
Dr Rizwan, Director General of the Police Rescue, said that 22 people were confirmed dead in Model Town area as seven militants attacked the worship place. He said that 21 people were injured who were shifted to several hospitals.
About 46 dead bodies were found from the worship place at Garhi Shahu,according to TV channels.
Both worships places are at 15 km distance. Witnesses said the attacks started shortly after prayers.
"A large number of anti-terror police, backed by armored vehicles, rushed to the sites and exchanged fire with the militants," a local resident told Xinhua.
The militants threw hand grenades as they forced their way to enter the worship place and opened fire on the worshippers and held them hostage in Garhi Shahu area, police said.
TV footage showed armed policemen surrounding the worship place. Several injured were also shown while leaving the worship place. At least one armed militant was shown taking position at the top of the worship place and firing at the police.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the firing incidents at Lahore and expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives, the PM office said.
Gilani ordered the authorities for provision of best medical facilities to the injured. He also ordered an enquiry into the incident.
A previously unknown group identified itself as Al-Qaeda Al- Jihad Punjab Wing claimed responsibility of the incident, according to ARY news.
Ahmadi is a religious movement founded towards the end of the 19th century and originating with the life and teachings of its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Pakistan has around four million Ahmadis and is the only state to have officially declared the Ahmadis to be non-Muslims in 1974.