Six Dead in Pakistan Bombing

ISLAMABAD (AP) - A bomb tore through a huge funeral procession
for a slain Shiite Muslim leader in northwestern Pakistan on
Friday, killing at least six people and wounding several more,
police said.

Rising sectarian violence threatens to further destabilize
nuclear-armed Pakistan just as it faces renewed U.S. pressure to
crack down on Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

Friday's explosion tore through crowds streaming toward a
graveyard for the burial of Sher Zeman, a Shiite leader who was
gunned down in the city the day before.

City police official Miran Shah said at least six of the
estimated 1,000 mourners were killed. Others wounded by the
explosion were rushed to nearby hospitals, he said.

Police said people angered by the attack fired on police
officers rushing to the scene. An Associated Press reporter in the
city heard the gunfire and said troops had arrived to help restore
order.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

However, relations between this Muslim nation's strong Sunni
majority and Shiite minority are under growing strain from a series
of attacks attributed to sectarian extremists.

Much of the violence has been in the northwest, where the
Taliban and other violent Sunni groups have gained sway.

In the deadliest recent incident, a car bomb killed 29 people
and wounded scores near a Shiite mosque in Peshawar in December. On Feb. 5, a suicide bomber killed 24 people at a Shiite mosque in a
central city.


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