Attack on Shiite procession in Pakistan kills at least 20


ISLAMABAD — At least 20 people were killed Monday in a bombing of a Shiite Muslim religious procession in Karachi, Pakistan’s
biggest city. The fourth such attack in recent days raised fears of
sectarian conflict to compound the country’s spiral of violence.

A suicide bomber struck at around 4:20 p.m. local time as the procession passed through a central commercial area of Karachi.
Officials said that at least 20 people were dead and more than 60
wounded. The attack came on Ashoura, one of the important dates for Pakistan’s minority Shiite community.

There were two other attacks in recent days on Shiite processions in Karachi, a city that up till now largely had been spared the terrorist bloodshed that’s hit Pakistan’s other major cities. On Sunday there was a bombing on a Shiite march in the Pakistani portion of the Kashmir region, again an unusual place for terrorists to target.

“This is a brutal and barbaric act of terrorism,” said Farooq Sattar, a minister from Karachi. “The conspiracy is very clear: to derail the economic hub of Pakistan and destabilize the country.”

There were reports of rioting across Karachi in response to the bombing, with cars set on fire and gunshots heard as angry mobs gathered, turning on police and news media.

About a fifth of Pakistan’s
population is Shiite. The current Islamic insurgency in the country,
linked to al-Qaida, sprang from a virulently anti-Shiite brand of Islam.

Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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