Gunmen kill 43 minority Shias on Karachi bus

Wednesday's attack second-deadliest in Pakistan this year
Gunmen kill 43 minority Shias on Karachi bus

Relatives of the victims of a bus attack console each other outside the Memon Medical Institute Hospital in Karachi Wednesday (Photo by reporter, Karachi
May 13, 2015
At least 43 members of Pakistan's Shia Ismaili minority were killed when gunmen opened fire on their bus in Karachi on Wednesday, police said, with a leaflet at the scene claiming the attack on behalf of the Islamic State group.

Wednesday’s attack took place in Safoora Goth, a neighborhood in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.

Police chief Ghulam Haider Jamali said that six gunmen stopped the bus and opened fire indiscriminately.

“Forty three people have died and 13 others are injured in the gun attack.” Jamali told media at the scene. He said 16 women were among the victims.

An eyewitness told that some 60 people were aboard the bus. According to relatives, all those killed were members of the minority Ismaili community.

Another eyewitness told that the assailants fled the scene on motorcycles.

A heavy contingent of police and paramilitary rangers reached the scene and cordoned off the bus. The dead and injured were rushed to nearby Memon Medical Institute Hospital.

It was the second deadliest militant attack in Pakistan this year after 62 Shia Muslims were killed in a suicide bombing in late January.

Pakistan has seen a rising tide of sectarian violence in recent years, particularly against Shias — of which the Ismaili community is a sub-sect — who make up around 20 percent of the country's predominantly Muslim population.

PM orders inquiry

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack in a statement Wednesday.

“The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the terrorist act and extended condolence on the loss of lives,” a PM House statement said. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah announced a day of mourning for victims and promised to investigate whether any security lapses may have contributed to the attack.

An IS-inspired group has claimed responsibility for the killings through pamphlets left behind at the site of the attack.

A security official showed AFP a copy of a torn and blood-stained pamphlet claiming responsibility on behalf of IS — the second time in as many months that such material has been discovered at the scene of an attack in Karachi.

Police handed over similar leaflets to reporters after the shooting of US national Debra Lobo, a member of faculty at the city's Jinnah Medical and Dental College, on April 16, but analysts remain doubtful over their authenticity.

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The leaflets, seen by AFP, are plain printed text documents with no IS emblems or insignia and there has been no confirmation from the group's leadership in the Middle East that it has carried out any attacks inside Pakistan.

With additional reporting from AFP

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