10/25/2010, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Bomb at a Sufi shrine in Punjab: At least eight dead

Two men on a motorcycle placed a bomb near the entrance of a Sufi shrine. Islamic extremists increasingly targeting Muslim groups judged to be "heretical."

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Eight people are dead and dozens injured in Pakistan after an attack targeting a famous Sufi shrine in the Punjab province. The attack was carried out by two men on a motorcycle, near the main entrance of the temple of Farid Shakar Ganj, said Mohammad Kashif, chief of police. The blast also damaged several shops surrounding the temple, the shrine itself has suffered slight damage.

The followers of the Sufism are often the victims of Islamic extremists, who do not tolerate their mystical practices, judging them heretical. The death toll is likely to grow, Dawn News initially reported four deaths, while the Samaa TV reported eight people, including four women. There are many wounded.

The blast partially damaged the place of worship dedicated to a Sufi saint, Hzrat Baba Farid, located in the city of Pakpattan, about 190 kilometers from Lahore. According to preliminary reports, the explosive was hidden in a can of milk left in front of two men on a motorcycle. The survivors claim that the bomb blew up five or six minutes after the departure of the two assailants. Recently, Sunni Muslim fundamentalist groups linked to al-Qaida have stepped up attacks against Islamic groups they consider “heretics'', among which the Sufi monority. Last July, about 40 worshipers were killed by two suicide bombers who entered the shrine of Data Ganj Baksh, a famous place of worship in Lahore. In early October, at least eight people died in another suicide bombing at a Sufi religious site in the city southern port of Karachi.

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