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Archbishop Lawrence J. Saldanha of Lahore has condemned the attacks (file photo)

Leaders blast ’cowardly’ Lahore attack on Shias reporter, Lahore

September 02 2010

Church leaders in Pakistan have condemned the triple bombings at a Shia religious ceremony in Lahore, which killed 35 and injured more than 200.

Such an act, committed as "thousands of flood victims await international support [is] cowardly," said Archbishop Lawrence J. Saldanha of Lahore.

The prelate was speaking in the wake of two suicide bombings and one grenade attack on Shias marking the martyrdom of Prophet Ali, one of Shia Islam’s most respected holy men, yesterday.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami, a banned Taliban movement, has claimed responsibility. "Our purpose was to avenge the murder of one of our leaders murdered a year ago," says Qari Husain, the movement's leader.

"Police were removing the barriers toward the end of the religious procession when the first hand grenade was thrown," said Tajamul Abbas, an observer.

"Meanwhile two other explosions occurred at nearby crossroads."

In a separate incident yesterday, seven people were injured in Karachi when unidentified militants opened fire on Shia Muslims.

"It is unbelievable that terrorism continues at a time when people should desperately help and share all available resources," said Father Saleh Diego, diocesan director of the Catholic Bishop's National Commission for Justice and Peace.

"There is a remote threat to foreign Caritas workers presently visiting flood-hit areas. The situation here is like Afghanistan as extremists do not allow Christian influence and foreign aid to flood victims."

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