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Religious school bombed in Pakistan; 14 killed

ISLAMABAD — At least 14 people were killed and 28 injured in an attack on a Shi’ite religious school in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, police officials said, while Taliban militants claimed responsibility for killing a provincial lawmaker and his son in the southern port city of Karachi.

In the northwest, three attackers, including a suicide bomber, tried to storm the school in Peshawar, the provincial capital of restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, just before Friday prayers. A police guard tried to stop them in a brief exchange of gunfire and wounded the suicide bomber, said Liaqut Hussain, the Peshawar police chief. The injured bomber, however, managed to get inside the compound and detonate his explosives.

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Television images showed rescue workers ferrying the wounded to nearby hospitals. The explosion left a trail of destruction and pools of blood. The bomber’s two accomplices managed to escape, according to police officials.

Extremist Sunni militants have repeatedly targeted Shi’ites in the country, causing a deep sense of insecurity among the Shi’ites. Most of the violence against Shi’ites has been concentrated in the southwestern city of Quetta, where Shi’ites belonging to the Hazara ethnic community have repeatedly come under attack.

There was no claim of responsibility of the Peshawar attack.

The lawmaker killed in Karachi, Sajid Qureshi, 53, was assassinated after Friday prayers in North Nazimabad, a middle-class neighborhood in the city, which has long been torn by ethnic and political violence. The attackers — four gunmen on two motorbikes — also killed his 27-year-old son along with a passerby, officials said.

Qureshi, a trader by profession, belonged to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a political party that has traditionally enjoyed a strong hold over the city.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement prides itself as a liberal, secular political party and has opposed religious extremism and militant violence. However, critics have accused the party of using force to maintain its influence over the city, the financial hub of the country.

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