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Four Pakistani Christians Killed In Attack Claimed By Islamic State


Shi'ite Muslim and Christians have been targeted in attacks by the Islamic State in Pakistan.

Four Christians were shot dead in southwestern Pakistan on April 2, police said, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

The group was travelling in a rickshaw when armed men on a motorcycle intercepted them and opened fire in Quetta city, the capital of Balochistan province.

Three members of a family and the rickshaw driver were immediately killed, but a fifth -- a child -- survived and was rushed to the hospital, police said.

"It appears to have been a targeted attack," provincial police official Moazzam Jah Ansari told Reuters. "It was an act of terrorism."

The attack came a day after Pakistan's Christian community celebrated Easter. Around 2 percent of Pakistan's 200 million people are Christians.

Minority religious festivals are a security concern in the majority Sunni Muslim country where there have been a numerous attacks on Christians and Shi'ite Muslims.

Balochistan, a region bordering Iran as well as Afghanistan that has been wracked by violence, is home to three Sunni Islamist militant groups -- the Pakistan Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State.

In December, a week before Christmas, two suicide bombers stormed a packed Christian church in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and wounding up to 56, in another attack claimed by the Islamic State.

The family killed on April 2 had come to visit relatives in Quetta's Shahzaman road area, where many in the city's Christian community live.

Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman, has been living on death row in Pakistan since 2010, when she was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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