A large number of people including Christians were present in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Iqbal Town area when the powerful blast occurred at 6.40pm, leaving many in a pool of blood.

The brutal attack by a suicide bomber -- believed to be in his 20s -- was claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

It has previously claimed several bombings, including the Charsadda court attack  this month, saying they were to avenge the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

District Coordination Officer Lahore retired Capt Muhammad Usman said the head of the bomber in today's attack has been recovered. Ball bearings were also found at the blast site.

"It was suicide attack. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the park," Deputy Inspector General Lahore Police Haider Asharaf told reporters.

"It has been confirmed that it was a suicide blast. Some 10 to 15 kilogramme explosive might have been used in the blast," he added.

He ruled out Christians were the target of the attack. "It was not a Christian park. Christians may be among the dead," the officer cited.

"The death toll has climbed to 69. More than 300 people have been injured," a Punjab government spokesman said. Another official said the park was a soft target. "Terrorists targeted children and the minority community to achieve their nefarious designs," he told stated.

"The death toll may rise as a number of injured are in critical condition," Punjab minister Bilal Yasin said.

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