Suicide bomber assassinates prominent Shia cleric in Karachi, Pakistan

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A suicide attacker detonated a bomb near the home of a prominent Pakistani Shia Muslim cleric in Karachi yesterday, killing the cleric and two other people, police said.

The death of Allama Hassan Turabi is likely to raise tensions in Karachi, which is often the scene of violence between Shias and Sunnis. Allama Turabi had narrowly escaped an attempt on his life in April 2006 when a bomb was exploded just after his car crossed the area. He was the leader of a Shia party, Islami Tehreek Pakistan, and a vice provincial chief for Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal Sindh (MMA), an opposition religious coalition.

Manzoor Mughal, a police investigator, said a lone attacker on foot had detonated the bomb at the gate of Allama Turabi's house as he was getting into a car. He died of his injuries at a private hospital in Karachi, and his guard, a cousin, and the attacker, were also killed. It was initially reported that the attacker was in a car. Mr Mughal said police had collected body parts, including the head of the attacker.

About 300 youths gathered near Allama Turabi's house after the blast, weeping and chanting slogans against the US and Israel. Reports said that public buses were damaged and set alight in disturbances following the killing, and one person was reported killed. Hours before the attack, Allama Turabi had addressed an anti-Israel rally organised by the MMA. The MMA is strongly opposed to the US led War on Terror and Pakistan's support of it.


Politics and conflicts