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Death Toll Reaches 36 in Pakistan Violence

From Associated Press

Shiite and Sunni Muslims battled each other Friday with rockets and gunfire in northwestern Pakistan, raising the death toll from two days of sectarian violence to at least 36, a town official said.

The violence began Thursday when a suicide bomber struck a procession of Shiites observing Ashura, their most important religious holiday. The minority Shiites responded by burning shops and cars and fighting with Sunnis in the town of Hangu, about 80 miles southwest of Peshawar in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.

The bombing and the ensuing riot killed 28 people, including five who died of their injuries overnight, said Hangu’s top administrator, Ghani Rahman. Four people died in a shooting on a minibus Thursday on the outskirts of Hangu, he said.

Hangu’s police chief, Ayub Khan, said investigators had recovered the remains of the suspected suicide bomber.

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The fighting continued late Thursday and Friday morning, with assailants in the mountains firing rockets into Hangu and Shiites shooting back, Rahman said.

The fighting Friday left three Shiites and at least one Sunni dead, Rahman said. Troops and police were patrolling to prevent further violence, he said.


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