43 killed after gunmen attack bus in Pakistan's city of Karachi: Officials

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters/AFP) - At least 43 Shi'ite Muslims were killed and 13 wounded when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on their bus in Karachi on Wednesday, Pakistani police said, in the second-deadliest attack on the minority sect this year and what appeared to be the latest violence directed against religious minorities. "There are 41 deaths, men and women included," police spokesman Atiq Shaikh told Reuters.

"According to the initial information which we have received from hospitals, 43 people have been killed and 13 wounded," Mr Ghulam Haider Jamali, police chief of Sindh province told reporters at the site. "Six terrorists came on three motorcycles, they entered the bus and began firing indiscriminately. They used 9mm pistols and all those killed and injured were hit by the 9mm pistols."

A senior member of the Ismaili National Council, a community group that represents the Ismaili branch of Shi'ites in Pakistan, placed the toll at at least 41.

Television channels carried pictures of a pink bus covered in bullet holes and lines of waiting ambulances. The police said the passengers were from a religious minority.

"There were six attackers. They boarded the bus and carried out the shooting," Police Superintendent Najib Khan told Reuters. He said all the passengers were from the Ismaili community, a minority Muslim sect in majority-Sunni Pakistan.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Taleban splinter groups have bombed several mosques belonging to religious minorities this year.

In March, suicide bombings outside two churches in Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80. Days later, a bomb after Friday prayers wounded 12 people outside a minority Bohra mosque in Karachi.

In February, 20 people were killed in an attack on a Shi'ite mosque in the northeastern city of Peshawar, and 60 were killed in a January attack on a Shi'ite mosque in the southern province of Sindh.

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