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Four Shiites shot dead in SW Pakistan

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Pakistani security personnel inspect a bullet-riddled vehicle belonging to a Shiite Muslim after an ambush by gunmen on a highway in Choto, a town some 40 kilometres south of the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta, on July 19, 2017. Gunmen ambushed a car and killed four family members from the Shiite Muslim minority in a sectarian attack in southwest Pakistan, police said. / AFP PHOTO / STR

Gunmen ambushed a car and killed four family members from the Shiite Muslim minority in a sectarian attack in southwest Pakistan on Wednesday, police said.

The men sprayed bullets at the vehicle of the Hazara Shiite family travelling to Karachi as they passed through Choto, a town some 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta.

“Four people of a family, including a woman, were killed and another man wounded when gunmen fired with automatic weapons on their car as it slowed down on a speed bump,” local police station chief Abdul Qudoos told AFP.

“It is a sectarian killing as the family had no enemy,” Qudoos said.

District police chief Ghazanfar Ali Shah confirmed the details and said police suspect the attack was pre-planned, with informants in Quetta informing the attackers about the family’s movements.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Taliban militants have attacked Shiite Hazaras in the past.

Sectarian violence — in particular by Sunni hardliners against Shiites who make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s 200 million people — has claimed thousands of lives in the country over the past decade.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has oil and gas resources but is afflicted by Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and a separatist insurgency.


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