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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Bomb kills 28, wounds dozens in southern Pakistan

Pakistani medics and civilians gather at the site of a bomb blast in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, March 3, 2013. Pakistani officials say a bomb blast has killed dozens of people in a neighborhood dominated by Shiite Muslims in the southern city of Karachi.
A bomb blast killed at 

least 28 people and 

wounded dozens of 

others on Sunday in a 

neighborhood dominated 

by Shiite Muslims in the 

southern city of Karachi, 

Pakistani officials said. 

The bomb exploded 

outside a Shiite mosque 

as people were leaving evening prayers, said police 

official Azhar Iqbal. Men, women and children were 

among those killed and wounded, he said. 

At least 28 people were killed and 50 others were 

wounded, said a top government official, Taha Farooqi. 

He said some people were feared trapped in the rubble 

of buildings that collapsed in the bombing. 

No one has claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants 

linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban have targeted Shiites 

in the past, claiming they are heretics. 

Initial reports suggest the bomb was rigged to a 

motorcycle, although a survey of the damage indicates 

there could have been additional explosives planted at 

the scene, the police official said. Farooqi said several 

buildings nearby had caught fire. 

Men and women wailed at the scene and the hospitals. 

AP video showed residents trying to find victims buried 

in the rubble. 

"I heard a huge blast. I saw flames," Syed Irfat Ali, a 

resident of the area, said, adding that people were crying 

and running to safety. 

Sunni militant groups have stepped up attacks in the 

past year against Shiite Muslims who make up about 20 

percent of Pakistan's population of 180 million people. 

Two brazen attacks against a Shiite Hazara community in 

southwestern city of Quetta killed nearly 200 people 

since Jan 10. Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi 

claimed responsibility for the bombings, which ripped 

through a billiard club and a market in areas populated 

by Hazaras, which are mostly Muslim Shiites. 

Pakistan's intelligence agencies helped nurture Sunni 

militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the 1980s and 

1990s to counter a perceived threat from neighboring 

Iran, which is mostly Shiite. Pakistan banned Lashkar-e-

Jhangvi in 2001, but the group continues to attack 


According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 

Shiites were killed last year in targeted attacks across 

the country, the worst year on record for anti-Shiite 

violence in Pakistan. The human rights group said more 

than 125 were killed in Baluchistan province. Most of 

them belonged to the Hazara community. 

Human rights groups have accused the government of 

not doing enough to protect Shiites. 

After the Jan 10 bombing, the Hazara community held 

protests, which spread to other parts of the country. The 

protesters refused to bury their dead for several days 

while demanding a military-led crackdown against the 

Lashkar-e-Jhanvi group. Pakistan's president dismissed 

the provincial government and assigned a governor to 

run Baluchistan province. 

No operation was launched against the militant group 

until another bombing in February killed 89 people. 

The government then ordered a police operation and has 

said some members of the group have been arrested. 

One of the founders of the group, Malik Ishaq, was 

among those detained and officials said he could be 

questioned to determine if his group's is linked to the 

latest violence against Shiites. 

Source: AP
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