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Published: Wednesday, 11/21/2012

3 bomb blasts kill 6 in 2 main Pakistani cities

ASSOCIATED PRESS

QUETTA, Pakistan — A bomb blast targeting an army vehicle killed three soldiers and two civilians in the southwestern city of Quetta on Wednesday, police said.

Hours later, two bombs went off minutes apart outside a Shiite mosque in the southern city of Karachi, killing at least one person and wounding several others.

The explosions demonstrated the underlying tensions in Pakistan between insurgents and security forces on the one hand Sunni and Shiite Muslims on the other. The relatively low level of attacks does not appear to be endangering the nation's stability.

In the first attack, an improvised explosive device was used to detonate the bomb by remote control in Quetta, police commissioner Qambar Dashti said. He said eight people were wounded in the attack, some critically.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

Quetta is the provincial capital of Baluchistan. The province has long been a scene of low-level insurgency by nationalist groups demanding more of a share in the region's natural resources.

Taliban and the al-Qaida-linked Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has also been active in Baluchistan, mainly focusing on targeting Shiite Muslims, whom it considers heretics.

Also Wednesday, two bombs exploded outside a Shiite mosque in the southern city of Karachi, killing one person and wounding seven people, senior police official Javed Odho said. He said the first appeared to be a suicide attack.

As the security forces and rescue workers were transporting victims of the first attack in Karachi to hospitals, a second bomb exploded at the same place, wounding several people, including security forces, rescue workers and journalists, senior police officer Omer Khitab said.

The twin bombings came as minority Shiites were celebrating the holy month of Muharram.

Pakistan has a long history of sectarian violence by extremist Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Karachi and other parts of the country.

The Sunni-Shiite schism over the true heir to Islam's Prophet Muhammad dates back to the seventh century.



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