Gunmen kill 7 in Pakistan's restive Quetta

Story highlights

  • Four members of Pakistan's Hazara minority were killed in Quetta
  • A second attack killed three more people and wounded four
  • There was no immediate claim of responsibility in either attack
Motorcyle-riding gunmen killed seven people in the restive Pakistani city of Quetta on Monday, with four members of the country's Hazara religious minority among the victims, police said.
The Hazaras -- members of a Shiite Muslim community that originated in Afghanistan -- were killed when four men on two motorcycles opened fire on their vehicle in central Quetta, Deputy Inspector-General Fayyaz Sumbal said. The victims died on the way to a hospital, while the attackers sped away, Sumbal said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings. But Pakistani extremist groups have carried out numerous deadly attacks on the Hazaras.
At least 30 people died in a July 1 suicide bombing in a Hazara district of Quetta. A Sunni militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, claimed responsibility for that attack, and human rights groups have criticized Pakistani authorities for failing to crack down on the organization.
In a second attack in Quetta, gunmen on a motorcycle shot into a shop, killing three people and leaving four others wounded, Quetta police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood told CNN. A Sunni religious scholar was among the dead, he said.
"The incident seems to be an act of sectarian target killing," another police official, Muhammad Aslam, told CNN.
The increase in sectarian bloodshed in Pakistan's northwestern province of Balochistan, where Quetta is the capital, has underscored the challenges already faced by the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In Islamabad, Sharif condemned the killings and offered prayers for the early recovery of the wounded, according to a statement from his office.
"The prime minister prayed to Allah Almighty to bless the departed souls with eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude," his office said. "He also prayed for the early recovery of those injured in the incident."