Violence in Pakistan′s Quetta continues during Eid | News | DW | 09.08.2013
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Violence in Pakistan's Quetta continues during Eid

More violence has erupted in the Pakistani city of Quetta. Gunmen fired on the vehicle of a former politician, killing at least nine people, as he emerged from a mosque during Eid as Muslims ended their fasting month.

Gunmen in the western city of Quetta fired on the vehicle of a former provincial minister leaving a mosque on Friday, during Eid, the Muslim festival ending the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The attackers killed at least nine people and injured dozens more, police said.

Police official Bashir Ahmad Barohi said the shooting appears to have targeted former provincial minister Ali Madad Jatak, who escaped unharmed.

"The majority of the injured faithful were coming from the mosque," said Brohi. "It was an armed attack on the former minister ... it was not an attack on the mosque."

The attack comes one day after a suicide bomber killed at least 30 people at a police funeral in the same city. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack.

The violence marked a bloody start to the Eid festival, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Eyes on Sharif

The attacks are the latest examples of spiralling militant violence since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office two months ago. His government has yet to present a security strategy to fight violent extremism, which it promised during campaign.

Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, is a city plagued by separatist fighters as well as sectarian and Islamist militants.

US pulls embassy staff

Non-essential government personnel have been told to leave the US Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan as a security precaution.

"We are undertaking this drawdown due to concerns about credible threat information specific to the US Consulate in Lahore," a senior State Department official said.

In addition, US citizens were being told to defer all non-essential travel to the country.

A US official said the announcement followed a specific threat to the Lahore mission, noting that it was not related to recent closures of several other diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa.

hc/ipj (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)