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35 SHIITES KILLED IN LAHORE TRIPPLE BLASTS

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At least 35 people have been killed and 170 injured after three bombs exploded, on Wednesday 09/01/2010 evening, during a procession by Shiaa Muslims in the Pakistani city of Lahore. 

Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen told the BBC that at least two of the attacks had been suicide bombings.

The capital of Punjab province has been the scene of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiaa in recent months (see – Lahore 07.01.10). Officials say the first explosion came shortly before nightfall on Wednesday, at the end of a procession by some 35,000 Shiaa to mark the death in the Seventh Century of the first Shiaa imam, Ali bin Abi Talib (see also – ABYSS IN ISLAM).

Minutes later, as hundreds of people fled, a suicide bomber blew himself up near an area where food was being prepared for the marchers to break the Ramadan fast, a senior police officer, Zulfiqar Hameed, told the Associated Press news agency. A second suicide bomber then detonated his explosive belt at an intersection near the end of the procession, Mr Hameed added. 

It is not known whether the first blast was a suicide bomb attack, but local government official Sajjad Bhutta told the AFP news agency that investigators had collected the bodies of three bombers. At least 35 of the people were critically injured in the attacks. 

Following the bombings, members of the public turned on police, attacking officers, their vehicles and nearby facilities. 

In the past violence against non-Sunnis in Pakistan was carried out by the radical Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – LeJ, and it is assumed there were behind the last attack too (see also – Muslim-Violence). 

In another event on Wednesday at least six civilians are among about 45 people reported killed in Pakistani military air strikes targeting militants in Khyber district, North-Western FATA tribal area (see also – Orakzai 04.10.10).
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