Hundreds arrested over Pakistan bombing

Hundreds suspected of links with Islamist extremists have been arrested in Pakistan following the weekend bombing deaths of 72 people.

Pakistan has arrested hundreds of suspects for alleged links with Islamist extremists after a Taliban bomber killed 72 people at the weekend.

The crackdown across several cities in central Punjab started immediately after Sunday's bombing at a public park in the eastern city of Lahore, security officials say.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, said on Monday it carried out the attack to target Christians celebrating the festival of Easter and vowed more bombings.

More than 30 children were among the dead and about 350 people were wounded in the deadliest attack to hit Pakistan in a year, Lahore's chief administrator Mohamed Usman said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered law enforcement agencies to speed up the offensive against the Islamist militants, who are linked with the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

"I want more co-ordination between law enforcement and intelligence agencies," he said.

"The terrorists have assassinated our children - sons and daughters - and God willing, we will wipe them out from this country."

At least 350 suspects were arrested by the intelligence agencies and police since the attack, officials said, without detailing how many were linked with the Sunday's bombing.

In an emotional televised address to the nation overnight, Sharif vowed to chase "cowardly" terrorists until all are eliminated.

Relatives prepared to bury the victims on Tuesday as 68 of the 72 bodies were handed over to families after post-mortems, police official Asghar Ali said.

Four of the dead remained unidentified.

The life was slowly returning to normal in Lahore after a day of mourning. Schools and shops were open and road traffic had resumed.

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