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Bomb Explodes as Pakistani Troops Patrol Shiite Areas in Karachi - 2004-06-01


A bomb has exploded at a Shiite mosque in Karachi, Pakistan, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 30 others.

Police say worshippers were performing evening prayers (at the Imam Bargah Ali Raza mosque) when the bomb exploded today (Monday).

The incident sparked rioting in the area, with an angry crowd torching two gas stations and a police car while chanting anti-government slogans and Shiite religious mottos.

Pakistani officials say paramilitary police clashed with rioters, killing at least two people.

The bombing came a day after unidentified gunmen murdered prominent Sunni Muslim cleric, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai in Karachi.

Fearing a Sunni backlash against the Shiites, Pakistani authorities concentrated security forces around Shiite mosques and in Shiite areas.

President Pervez Musharraf condemned the killings and said he is going to make what he called some "key decisions" to deal with the situation in Karachi.

The Shamzai slaying comes three weeks after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 worshippers at a Shiite mosque in Karachi and four days after two car bombs killed one person near the U-S Consul's residence.

Information for this report is provided by AP.

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