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Pakistan explosion kills 43 people

At least 43 people have been killed in suicide bombings targeting religious minorities in Pakistan.

This came as an explosion took place in the south-western city of Quetta at a Shia Muslim procession on Friday calling for solidarity with Palestinian people. Another 78 people were wounded, some of whom are in critical condition.

The Pakistani Taliban later claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Taliban commander Qari Hussain Mehsud said although they were fighting the US and the Pakistan government, "Shias are also our target."

Pakistani intelligence officials said that elsewhere in Pakistan's restive tribal regions a suspected US missile strike killed at least five people in an area controlled by the Haqqani network which is fighting Americans in neighbouring Afghanistan alongside the Taliban.

Earlier in the day a suicide bombing on a mosque belonging to the minority Ahmadi Islamic sect killed one person and wounded several others in the north-west Pakistani town of Mardan.

Shia leader Allama Abbas Kumaili appealed to participants in Quetta to remain peaceful. He said: "We understand these are attempts to bring Sunni and Shiite sects against each other."

The attack in Quetta was the second this week on Shia people in Pakistan. A suicide bombing on Wednesday killed 35 people at a Shia ceremony in the eastern city of Lahore.

Kumaili said the attacks against minority religious sects are a result of government failure, adding: "Our government concentrates all its efforts to secure VIPs. Common men are not their priority."

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