LAHORE - The provincial Counter-Terrorism Department on Tuesday claimed to have arrested a key suspect in connection with the suicide blast outside Data Darbar in Lahore early this month.

A CTD official also revealed that the suicide bomber, who targeted an elite police vehicle on the gate of the shrine of Sufi saint Ali Hajveri, had arrived in Lahore from Afghanistan just a couple of days before the attack.

The suicide bomber was identified by CTD police as Sadiqullah Mohmand, said to be Afghan national.

According to CTD sources, the bomber entered Pakistan from Afghanistan through Torkham Border on May 6.

A man namely Tayyabullah had transported the bomber to Lahore. Both the bomber and his handler had stayed at the residence of Mohsin and Noor Zaib in the Walled City.

Mohsin Khan was arrested during a CTD raid in Lahore’s Bhati Gate late Monday night. Mohsin Khan is said to be the resident of Charsadda district of KPK province.

Police sources revealed that the CTD team also seized a suicide jacket and explosive material from the house.

The CTD personal raided the house and arrested the key facilitator after they received credible information about the stay of the bomber at the same place.

At least 12 people including five policemen died and 25 others were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his vest outside the gate (No 2) of Data Darbar, the largest shrine in South Asia, on May 8. Earlier, police and intelligence operatives raided a house in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu and arrested three suspects in connection with the bombing.

According to police investigators, both facilitators of the bomber were seen roaming in Pathan Colony in Lahore’s Naseerabad. The arrests were made after police and forensic experts examined several CCTV clips collected from various locations near the shrine. Like the suicide bomber, the facilitators were also wearing black-colour Shalwar Kameez as they reached near the shrine on the day of the incident.

One of the facilitators visited the shrine of the Sufi saint a few hours before the blast. In a CCTV clip, he could be seen leaving the shrine at 6:30am. A high-powered investigation team comprising police, CTD, and intelligence officials has been tasked to investigate the bombing.

A source close to the joint investigation team said that the police had identified the motorcycle-rickshaw used to transport the suspected bomber to the shrine.

The arrests were made on the information provided by the arrested rickshaw driver to the investigation team, he added. According to the FIR, two facilitators were accompanying the bomber.

After handshake, they said goodbye to the terrorist and then disappeared in the narrow streets adjacent to the shrine.

Police sources said that the suspects hired a rickshaw from a bus stop near the Lahore Railway station.

A CCTV clip shows the rickshaw driver approaches the bomber as appears on Garhi Shahu road.

Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, had claimed credit for the terror attack.

The Taliban suicide bombers, in recent years, attacked police force many times in Lahore.