Asia

Deadly attacks hit Quetta city in Pakistan

Pakistani security officials inspect the site of an incident were unknown assailants opened fire on a bus in Hazara Ganji area of Quetta, Pakistan, 23 October 2014 Image copyright EPA
Image caption The minibus was targeted by gunmen on motorbikes, police say

At least 13 people have been killed and 29 injured in attacks in the Pakistani city of Quetta, officials say.

Eight Shias were killed by gunmen who fired on a bus at a market. A ninth was shot dead in another attack soon after.

Elsewhere in the city a bomb attack on a security convoy left two people dead.

Later two more people were killed when a rally by one of Pakistan's biggest religious parties, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), was bombed. Party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was unhurt.

He said he thought he had been the target.

"I was in a bulletproof car and that's why I survived," the cleric is quoted by AFP as telling local media.

"My car was badly damaged, almost destroyed. The windscreen of my car was completely cracked, we received a big shock but me and friends inside the car are safe and alive," he said.

The cleric has been targeted before by militants, correspondents say, because he has committed to working within Pakistan's electoral system.

Sectarian attacks

The day's first attack took place outside a local vegetable market.

Police told the AFP news agency that four gunmen had killed six men in a minibus before chasing down another two and shooting them dead.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Eight people were killed in the attack on the bus in Quetta

The ninth Shia to be killed was shot dead in the Hazara Town area.

Sunni militants regularly attack members of the city's minority Shia community. On 4 October a suicide bomber killed at least five people in a Shia neighbourhood.

Hundreds of Shia Hazaras in Quetta have been killed in such attacks in recent years but there was no immediate claim for Thursday's attack.

Over the years Pakistan's Shias have been angered by what they say is a lack of protection for them against sectarian attacks.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, and has been plagued by a separatist rebellion as well as a Taliban insurgency and sectarian violence.

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