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Gunmen kill seven Shiites in Pakistan: police

QUETTA, Pakistan: Gunmen shot dead seven Shiite Muslims in two separate incidents in Pakistan's troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan on Saturday, police said.

The incidents took place near Quetta, the capital of the oil and gas rich province, which is plagued by sectarian violence.

"Four gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted a bus near Hazarganji area, pulled five Shiite vegetable sellers off the vehicle and shot them dead," senior local police official Wazir Khan Nasir told AFP.

He said in a second incident, two motorbike riders sprayed bullets at two Shiites in Hazarganji area, on the outskirts of Quetta, killing both of them.

Another local police official Mukhtar Musakhel confirmed the incident and casualties.

Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks but the province suffers from Taliban attacks and is also a flashpoint for sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that has left thousands of people dead since the late 1980s.

Baluch rebels also rose up in 2004, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the oil, gas and mineral resources in the region.

 
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