At least 45 people were killed and 13 others were wounded after an attack in Karachi. Armed men carrying 9mm pistols attacked a packed bus carrying passengers of Shiite Muslims origin. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the brutal attack, which took place in the port city in southern Sindh province on Wednesday.
Six gunmen stopped by the bus and asked the passengers, including women and children, to bow their heads. They then fired shots at close range.
The attack proved Pakistan’s inability to protect the religious minority group. Pakistani Taliban splinter group Jundullah and the Islamic State (IS) both claimed responsibility for the attack. Later, the militant group Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also said they were behind the attack.
The incident marks the first time any Islamic State-affiliated group claimed responsibility of a attack in Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the shooting and ordered an investigation.
Witnesses informed that the attackers left behind letters saying they are planning for more attacks against Shiites.
Writer Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, thought to be past 50, had spent three years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, upon suspicion of links to al-Qaeda, but he was released on grounds of health. Recently, U.S. officials claimed Dost had moved to Karachi, but they also doubted his involvement in Islamic State operations.
Pakistani security officials said that Dost has been spreading Islamic State propaganda.
“He is good at jihadi lectures and preaching, so he could be instrumental in recruitment for [the Islamic State], but I don’t think he is good at planning or staging attacks,” one Pakistani intelligence official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“We will take strong action against those involved in this heinous act of terror,” Qaim Ali Shah, who is the chief minister of Sindh province, said in an interview with GEO TV. “The Ismaili community is a very peaceful community, and they have no disputes with anyone.”
Protesting the bus attack in Karachi, Pakistan, people lit candles.