Five Shia killed in suspected sectarian attack in Quetta

Reuters/Naseer Ahmed

Gunmen killed five people Friday when they opened fire on members of the Shia-Muslim community visiting a cemetery in the south-western Pakistani city of Quetta, police said.


The attack, which also wounded seven, took place at a graveyard for the Hazara ethnic group where mourners were praying for dead relatives.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

About a dozen unknown gunmen fired rockets and bullets from two cars, according to police and witnesses.

The attack took place in Hazara Town. The Hazara, most of whom are Shia, are a minority group in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Police investigators said that it appeared to be a sectarian attack.

Southern Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, is the base of several Islamist groups, the scene of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shia and of a regional insurgency waged by separatists.

Shia-Muslims are a minority in Pakistan, accounting for around a fifth of the country's 160 million population, which is dominated by Sunnis.

More than 4,000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence between the groups since the late 1980s.

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