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Militants attack bus near Quetta, kill 13 Shia Muslims

By Rezaul H Laskar
October 04, 2011 12:35 IST
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Militants on Tuesday stormed a bus carrying Shia Muslims in Baluchistan province of southwest Pakistan, killing 13 men and injuring seven others in the latest in a string of attacks targeting the minority community.

Three gunmen travelling in a pick-up truck stopped the bus with nearly 30 passengers in Akhtarabad area on the outskirts of provincial capital Quetta, witnesses told the media.

Two gunmen entered the bus and fired indiscriminately, they said. Thirteen men, most of them Shia Hazaras, were killed and seven others injured, said the police.

The injured were taken to the Bolan Medical Complex and those with critical wounds were shifted to Quetta's military hospital. Officials described the condition of three of the injured as serious.

The attackers fled from the area before it was cordoned off by police and paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel.

A large number of Shia Hazaras reached the Bolan Medical Complex and staged a protest against the attack. The bus that was attacked was set on fire by angry protestors. 

Some protestors shouted slogans against the police and the government for their failure to prevent attacks on Shias.

Some protestors accused the authorities of being in league with terrorists and demanded targeted operation and a crackdown on those who were attacking members of the Hazara community.

Witnesses said all the slain men were labourers who were going to a fruit and vegetable market for work.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a notorious sectarian group, has claimed responsibility for several recent attacks on Shia Hazaras in Balochistan.

According to the police, security has been stepped up at all exit points of Quetta to prevent the attackers from fleeing the city.

Dozens of Hazaras, who stand out from the local population because of their distinct features, have been killed in attacks over the past few months.

Nearly 30 Hazaras were killed in attacks on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims and another vehicle near Quetta in September. Six more pilgrims were killed within Quetta city.

The pilgrims were heading to neighbouring Iran to visit shrines and sacred places.

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