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Gunmen kill one, injure four in attack on Shia mosque in Pakistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Security personnel gather outside a Shia Muslim mosque after gunmen killed a man in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

One person has been killed and at least four others injured when gunmen opened fire at worshipers leaving a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

Police said on Wednesday that the shooting erupted outside the Bab-ul-Ilm mosque following evening prayers in Islamabad's I-8 sector.

"Two gunmen approached a water cooler installed outside the mosque's main gate and filled their glasses with water, then opened fire indiscriminately on people as they came out," local police official Qasim Ahmad said.

He said the assailants arrived on foot and then fled after the shooting, disappearing into a nearby greenbelt.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Shias make up about 20 percent of Pakistan's population of nearly 200 million.

Security has been a main issue for the Shias as thousands of them have been killed as a result of militancy and hate attacks over the past decade.

Critics blame the Pakistani government and some elements within intelligence services for unwillingness to protect Shia Muslims and moderate Sunnis across the violence-wracked country.

International organizations and rights groups have urged the Pakistani government to take decisive action against the forces involved in the targeted killings.

Pakistani federal employees remove a burnt police van after a protest of Tehreek-i-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan religious group in Islamabad on October 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The attack comes few days after a Pakistani religious group, whose supporters have been holding sit-ins and clashing with police, ended the weeks-long protests after the Islamabad government agreed to its demand for the resignation of the law minister. Seven people were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with police.

The Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan, blamed Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid for changing the wording of an electoral oath, an amendment they say amounts to blasphemy. The government has, however, put the issue down to an error.

"We wanted this protest to end soon after receiving intelligence information that miscreants might try to spark sectarian unrest by carrying out subversion at the protest," interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said at a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday.

"This was what we have been fearing," he added.


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