(KARACHI, Pakistan) — Authorities in the Pakistani city of Karachi say at least 45 people were killed and 149 injured Sunday by a bomb explosion in what appears to be another incident of sectarian violence.
Police say the blast occurred near a mosque in a mainly Shiite Muslim area of the city. No group has yet claimed responsibility, but Pakistan’s Shiite minority is frequently targeted for attack by Sunni militant groups.
The blast came as worshippers were exiting the mosque after evening prayers. Police are not sure if the bomb was planted or if it was a suicide attack. The blast badly damaged two apartment blocks.
Some 200 people were killed in the first two months of this year in two separate bombings that targeted the Shiite community in the Pakistani city of Quetta.
Pakistan’s top political and religious leaders condemned the attack on the Shiite minority.
Sardar Mehdi Musa, a leader of the Hazara Shiite minority, declared, “This is terrorism at its worst. It’s a sign that things are only going to get worse.”
Militant Sunni groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi regard Shiite Muslims as heretics and have increased attacks in recent years.
In February, Pakistan’s Supreme Court called on government authorities to find ways to better protect Shiites more effectively, in the wake of increased attacks.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ben Westcott, CNN
Angela Dewan and Euan McKirdy, CNN
Steve Almasy, CNN
Oren Liebermann, CNN