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Sectarian attack kills 1

A grenade thrown into a prayer gathering in a Sunni Muslim mosque on Thursday killed one worshipper and wounded 18 in an apparent sectarian attack in northwestern Pakistan, police said.

world Updated: Mar 06, 2009 00:42 IST

A grenade thrown into a prayer gathering in a Sunni Muslim mosque on Thursday killed one worshipper and wounded 18 in an apparent sectarian attack in northwestern Pakistan, police said.

“According to initial information an unidentified man hurled a grenade when people were worshipping in Amir Hamza mosque,” local police official Mustafa Khan told AFP.

The town of Dera Ismail Khan, where the attack happened, borders the country’s restive tribal region and has suffered a wave of attacks linked to sectarian tensions between majority Sunni and minority Shia communities. “It appears to be a sectarian attack,” said another police official, Sanaullah Khan. “One person was killed and 18 wounded,” said Doctor Ashiq Saleem of of a local hospital in Dera Ismail Khan. Shias account for about 20 per cent of Pakistan’s 160-million-strong, Sunni-majority population.

The groups usually coexist peacefully but outbreaks of violence involving militants from the two communities have claimed more than 4,000 lives across Pakistan since the late 1980s.