(Update) Jundullah Behind Ismaili Community Bus Attack Killing 45 with 11 Injured
KARACHI: At least 45 people were killed and 11 others wounded on Wednesday when armed men opened fire inside a bus carrying members of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowk in Karachi.
Sindh Police Inspector General Ghulam Haider Jamali said that 60 people were on board the bus when six gunmen entered and executed 45 passengers.
He added that the armed men used 9mm pistols in the massacre. The attackers managed to flee after the attack.
Hospital sources have so far confirmed that the dead include 27 men and 16 women. Police officials said that there were no children among the casualties.
All victims were shot from a close-range.
Rana M Razzaq, a security coordinator at the Memon Medical Center, told media that, "One young girl hid and survived. Three or four others who were brought to the hospital have survived...the rest are all dead."
Jundullah claims attack
Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman for Jundullah which is a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), talking to Reuters claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Al Qaeda affiliated group that started off from South Waziristan has targetted Shia minorities and foreign tourists in the past as well. In November last year, the group had pledged support to Islamic State (IS).
A view of a pamphlet left by the attackers at the scene of attack.
In the past, the proscribed group has claimed several attacks including a blast near the Wagah border in November 2014 and the July 2013 attack on the compound of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Sukkur. It has also claimed the several attacks on polio workers across the country.
Attackers entered bus and fired
A survivor of the attack recorded her statement before the police and said that the attackers entered the bus from the rear portion a few minutes after its departure.
She added that the occupants of the bus thought that robbers had embarked on the vehicle.
The assailants subdued the driver and separated (two) children from the others, the victims said and added that, “They told the passengers to keep their head low. One of the attackers situated in the rear side of the bus then ordered his associates to ‘shoot every one’ after which they indiscriminately targeted all passengers of the bus.”
All attackers were speaking fluent Urdu according to the survivor.
Secretary Al Azhar Garden said that the bus leaves daily at 9am and has been operating for the past 10 years. Today it was attacked around 9:30 am, he said.
A rescue official quoted a victim as saying that the attackers were dressed in police uniforms.
A rescue official displays casings collected from the scene of an attack on a bus, in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. — AP
Investigation Officer Tariq Jadoon told media that some blue caps, which are used by security guards, have also been recovered from the crime scene along with 9mm casings.
A plain-clothes police official holds up evidence collected from the scene of an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Shias in Karachi on May 13, 2015.— AFP
A senior police official, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media, said that the attackers entered the bus and shot the passengers in the head.
“The gunmen stopped the bus and first fired at it from outside,” a policeman told AFP. “Then they entered inside the bus and open fire indiscriminately. After that they checked to see if anyone was left uninjured."
“The bus had a capacity of 52 passengers but it was overloaded and dozens of people were boarding it. Most of them were from (the) Ismaili community,” he added.
Ismaili community attacked: police
Pakistan has seen a rising tide of sectarian violence in recent years, particularly against Shias — of which the Ismaili community is a sub-sect — who make up around 20 per cent of the country's predominantly Muslim population.
“The dead and injured have been shifted to the private Memon Medical Center nearby,” an official of the Ismaili National Council, a group which represents the community said.
The bus belongs to the Al-Azhar Garden Colony, which is an Ismaili community housing project in Karachi. It was on its regular route headed towards Federal B Area of Karachi.
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