Karachi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 43 people have been killed and 20 injured in a gun attack on a bus carrying Ismaili Shia Muslims in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
A group called Jundullah (Soldiers of God) allied with the Islamic State has said that it carried out the attack. Six gunmen fired indiscriminately into the passengers.
This attack was the second deadliest militant attack in Pakistan this year after 62 Shia Muslims were killed in a suicide bombing in late January in Sindh province.
Pakistan has seen a rising tide of sectarian violence in recent years, particularly against Shias, who make up around 20 per cent of the country's population. Sunnis are about 70 per cent.
Ismaili Shias are known for their progressive Islamic views. Their spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan is a globally renowned philanthropist and business magnate.
In the violence by Taliban and Sunni militants against Shia Muslims in Pakistan, the Ismailis - which make up a tiny proportion of Shias - have been largely spared.
Violence has increase since the Jundullah split from the Pakistani Taleban and allied themselves with the Islamic State group.
A Jundullah spokesman said it carried out the attack because it considered the victims "kafir," pagans. He threatened more attacks in the coming days against Ismailis, Shias and Christians.
On 15 March, two suicide bombers struck two churches, one Protestant and one Catholic, in Lahore, killing 14 people and wounding at least 80.