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Sunni militant group says it attacked centre - The Indian Express

Associated Press ()
23 February 1997

Title : Sunni militant group says it attacked centre
Author : Associated Press
Publication : The Indian Express
Date : February 23, 1997

Police arrested three suspects on Friday after a little-known
militant Sunni Muslim group claimed responsibility for an attack on
an Iranian cultural centre that left seven dead.

Describing itself as Lashkar-I-Jharlgvi, which means warriors of
Jhangvi, the group released a statement saying that it had
organised Thursday's attack on the centre in Multan, 600 km
south-east of Islamabad.

The statement named Riaz Basara, who is wanted in the 1990
assassination of a former head of the Iranian cultural centre in
Lahore, as a key organizer of the attack.

Police raided the house from where the tax message to newspaper
offices had been sent, Associated Press of Pakistan, the state-run
news agency, said.

The news agency quoted police officer Mohammed Ashrab as saying
that police seized an arms cache, including rocket launchers, AK 47
rifles, handguns and bullets.

here was no immediate information on where the three suspects were
arrested. The names of two of them, but not their affiliations,
were released.

The body of the Iranian cultural center Chief, Mohammed Ali Rahimi,
who headed the centre, was flown to Teheran, where it was received
on Friday by Government officials and Rahimi's family.

In Lahore, about 150 Shiite Muslims gathered outside the American
centre near the Punjab Assembly shouting slogans pledging to avenge
"Rahimi's blood."

Authorities in Multan cordoned off the busy market square where the
cultural centre was located and erected road blocks in an attempt
to apprehend the attackers on Friday.

There were peaceful demonstrations in Multan and Lahore, but there
were no reports of violence on Friday.

The protesters also shouted slogans accusing the U S Government of
backing rebel groups in Islamic countries. They erected barricades
and burned tires to block the highway from Multan to Lahore,
witnesses said.

Sectarian violence has killed at least 55 people and wounded 80
others in Multan in the last six months, the news agency said.

The attack appeared to be part of an ongoing fight between Shiite
and Sunni Muslim groups in Pakistan that has led to hundreds of
deaths in the past year.

In Teheran, Ayatollah Mohammed Yazdi, Iran's chief of the
judiciary, condemned the attack and called on the Pakistani
Government to complete the investigation quickly.



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