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Pakistan mosque blast kills 44

From CNN Islamabad Bureau Chief Ash-har Quraishi

injured
Some of the injured were taken to hospital on the back of a truck.

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RESOURCES

QUETTA, Pakistan (CNN) -- Three attackers set off explosives at a Shiite mosque here Friday, killing at least 44 people and wounding 65 others, police said.

Police said they defused two other bombs found near the mosque later in the day.

The attack set off rioting as survivors began torching cars, breaking windows and running through the streets.

Police declared a curfew on the area, and the army patrolled the city streets by night. The government closed all education institutions in Quetta.

Police were placed on heightened alert throughout the country. Prime Minister Mir Zafarullaha Jamali, who happened to be in Quetta when the attack occurred, canceled his meetings for the day, including a planned cabinet meeting.

The attackers set off the explosives around 1:30 p.m. (4:30 a.m. EDT) as the mosque was packed with an estimated 2,000 worshipers holding Friday prayers.

Police said two of the three attackers were killed. The third was wounded and taken into custody by authorities.

In Paris, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said: "It is unfortunate there are some elements in Pakistan who undermine whatever Pakistan stands for, whatever the vast majority stands for.

"It is always unfortunate that this small minority is able to derail or undermine national feelings. I am clear in my mind the vast majority of the people of Pakistan certainly do not contribute to extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism."

The mosque is frequented by members of the Hazara tribe who have been targets of sectarian attacks in recent weeks. In early June, a tribal leader was killed. Then on June 8, 12 Hazara police recruits were attacked and killed.

Hazara tribe members are Shiite Muslims. The majority of Muslims in Pakistan are Sunni. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.


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