Attack on Shiite mosque in Pakistan's capital kills 3, officials say


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ISLAMABAD — An attack on a Shiite mosque in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Wednesday evening killed at least three people, the latest act of violence to target the country's religious minority.

At least two people were also wounded in the violence, said Ayesha Isani, the spokeswoman at the hospital in Islamabad where the dead and wounded were taken. She also gave the death toll.

The authorities were still investigating the circumstances of the attack. According to Islamabad police official Waseem Ali, a man likely opened fire on the mosque before throwing in a grenade — or possibly, before a suicide jacket he was wearing partially exploded.

A witness who talked with state-run Pakistan television said he was outside the mosque when a man opened fire at guards and then tried to enter. The assailant tried to blow himself up but his jacket malfunctioned and only partially exploded, said the witness, who was not identified.

One of the emergency rescue officials who arrived on the scene to help transport the wounded, Farooq Butt, said security officials were trying to defuse the unexploded part of the suicide jacket.

In a statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and asked authorities to provide best treatment to the wounded persons.

It was the latest in a string of attacks against Pakistan's Shiite Muslim minority, which Sunni extremists view as apostates. Pakistan is a Sunni-majority country.

Last Friday, a Pakistani Taliban attack on a mosque in the northeastern city of Peshawar killed 20 people. In January nearly 60 people died in a bombing at a Shiite mosque in the southern city of Shikarpur.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which happened on the edge of Islamabad, near the twin city of Rawalpindi.

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