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updated: 9/1/2011 12:59 PM

Gunmen attack minibus in Pakistan, kill 7 Shiites

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Associated Press

PARACHINAR, Pakistan -- Gunmen killed seven Shiite Muslims in an attack on a minibus in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, while two people died in a suicide car bomb attack on a police station.

Sunni extremists of one stripe or another will be suspected in both attacks, which were not linked.

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Allied to al-Qaida and the Taliban, the militants frequently target Shiites, whom they regard as non-Muslims, as well as Pakistan's pro-Western government.

Government official Jameel-ur-Rehman said the gunmen ambushed the bus in an area of the Kurram tribal region close to the Afghan border, which has seen repeated attacks on its Shiites over the last year.

The suicide blast also took place in the northwest, but in a different region.

Police officer Sana Ullah said officers opened fire on the vehicle, which blew up at the gate of the station in the Lakki Marat district. The driver was killed. The two other dead were shopkeepers. Several policemen and bystanders were injured, he said.

Islamist militants have carried out hundreds of attacks against Pakistani security force, government and western targets since 2007. At least 35,000 people have been killed.

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