07/02/2010, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Suicide attack on a Sufi shrine in Lahore, at least 41 dead

There are more than 170 wounded. The suicide bombers blew themselves up with ball bearings and other shrapnel for a more violent impact, as people prepared to sleep and prayer. Taliban suspected of attack against the Punjab Sufi sect, considered heretical. Over a month ago, in the city there were attacks on Ahmadiyya two mosques of the also considered heretical by Sunni fundamentalism.

Lahore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A triple suicide bombing at the tomb of a Sufi saint in the city of Lahore last night has caused the deaths of at least 41 people. Authorities say there are more than 175 wounded. The shrine of Persian Sufi saint, Syed Ali Hajwairi, known as Data Gunji Bakhsh, is located in the city centre and was filled with thousands of visitors. Traditionally, Pakistani Muslims visit the shrine on Thursday evening or Friday morning, the day of prayer.

One of the terrorists detonated his device at the entrance of the sanctuary, with columns and arches of worked marble. At least one other suicide attack occurred in the floor below, where people were preparing to sleep or wash before praying.

Investigators believe the explosives also contained metal balls and shrapnel for a more violent impact. This morning still there were bleeding bodies scattered in the courtyard of the shrine and people crying in shock or loss of their loved ones.

Almost ironically, the attack occurred a few hours after the security forces announced that June was the first month in two years that no suicide bombings were recorded.

So far no one has claimed the attack, but suspicion points to Taliban militants and their allies in Punjab, Sunnis, see Sufis as heretics.

On May 28, also in Lahore, 93 people were killed in a double attack on the minority Ahmadiyya mosques, also considered heretical by Sunni fundamentalism.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said that this latest attack shows that "terrorists have no regard for any religion, faith or belief."

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