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Suspected sectarian attack in Pakistan kills 12

world Updated: Oct 05, 2011 12:37 IST

Reuters
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Gunmen opened fire on Tuesday a bus in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province in a suspected sectarian attack, killing 12 people, the second such attack in just over two weeks.

The attackers, who were in a pickup truck, intercepted the bus on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Quetta. Several people were wounded.

"The bus was carrying people mostly from the Hazara community who were returning from Quetta," senior police Hamid Shakeel told Reuters, referring to a Shi'ite Muslim ethnic minority.

Ten people were killed on the spot while two died in hospital. There were about 20 people on the bus.
Sunni Muslims militants loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban regularly carry out attacks on members of Pakistan's Shi'ite minority. They have stepped up attacks in recent months.

A similar attack on Sept 20 killed at least 26 Shi'ite pilgrims in Mastung district while they were on their way to Iran.

No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.

Pakistan has seen a surge in violence since al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a secret raid in a Pakistani town in May.

Militants have vowed revenge for bin Laden's death.

Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims have a rivalry going back almost 1,400 years, when Islam split over the successor to the Prophet Mohammad.