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8 Pakistanis killed at religious event

KARACHI, Pakistan — Gunmen threw grenades at a Sufi Islamic religious gathering Sunday in the port city of Karachi and opened fire on the people assembled to offer prayers, killing eight, officials said.

Eight more people were wounded in the attack, said Aftab Chanur, an official at the hospital who gave the death toll.

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The four gunmen on motorcycles first lobbed grenades at the building where a Sufi cleric was receiving his followers, then raked it with automatic fire, said police official Javed Odho. He said women and children were among the dead and wounded.

Pakistan is 95 percent Muslim, and the majority practice Sufi-influenced Islam. But their shrines and followers have come under attack by Sunni Muslim militants who don’t consider them to be true Muslims.

No one claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack in Pakistan, but suspicion is likely to fall on militants such as the Pakistani Taliban or their affiliated sectarian groups who follow a strict interpretation of Islam.

Pakistani militants have often targeted Muslim shrines, which they consider to be sacrilegious. In January, militants killed six people at the shrine of a Sufi saint in Karachi. After that attack, militants also threatened the cleric who was targeted Sunday, telling him he should close down the house of worship.

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