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Suicide Bomb Blast Kills Leading Pakistani Shi'ite Cleric


A suicide bomb attack in southern Pakistan has killed a prominent shi'ite cleric. The blast occurred in front of the religious leader's home in the port city of Karachi.

Local police say Allama Hassan Turabi died of his injuries Friday evening, shortly after a lone suicide attacker detonated a powerful bomb outside his home.

The bomber and a relative of Turabi were also killed. Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao says the entire area has been cordoned off, and an investigation is under way.

He says police have recovered some of the bombers' body parts, which could lead to quick identification, and help track down the attacker's associates.

This was the second strike this year on Turabi, a prominent figure in Karachi's minority Shi'ite community.

He survived an assassination attempt last April, when a remote control bomb partially destroyed his car.

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and commercial hub, is a frequent battleground between rival Sunni and Shi'ite extremists.

Police and paramilitary forces deployed throughout Karachi Friday evening to prevent a possible sectarian backlash following Turabi's death.

About 80 percent of Pakistan's Muslim community is Sunni, the rest are members of the Shi'ite minority. A bloody rivalry between the two groups has killed hundreds of people in recent years.

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