70 Dead in Suicide Attacks on Pakistan Mosques

Worshipers held hostage during shootout with police
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 28, 2010 6:53 AM CDT
Updated May 28, 2010 10:01 AM CDT
An image made from Geo TV video shows Pakistani police officer takes cover during a crackdown operation against militants in Lahore, Pakistan on Friday, May 28, 2010.    ((AP Photo/Geo TV))
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(Newser) – Suspected Islamist militants attacked two mosques packed with hundreds of worshipers from a minority sect in eastern Pakistan, today, holding hostages and battling police, the AP reports. More than 70 people died, and dozens were wounded. The assaults were carried out by at least seven men, including three suicide bombers, officials said. Two attackers were captured.

The attacks took place in the Model Town and Garhi Shuha neighborhoods. The assault at Model Town was brief, and involved four attackers spraying worshipers with bullets before exploding hand grenades. Several kilometers away at Garhi Shahu, the standoff lasted hours. At one point, a gunman fired bullets from atop a minaret. The attacks in Lahore against the Ahmadi community illustrate the threat minority religious groups face in Pakistan, a Muslim-majority nation whose longtime struggle with sectarianism has been exacerbated by the violent rise of the Sunni extremist Taliban and al-Qaeda movements.

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