Death toll in mosque attacks reaches 98

May 29, 2010 at 10:45 AM

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 29 (UPI) -- The death toll in attacks on two mosques of a religious minority in Pakistan has risen to 98 with more than 100 wounded, officials said Saturday.

Friday's attacks in Lahore in eastern Pakistan were against houses of worship of the Ahmadi sect, a persecuted religious group, CNN reported.

Attackers throwing hand grenades and firing weapons in the Model Town neighborhood of Lahore killed seventy-five people; 23 others were killed in the Garhi Shahu neighborhood.

Ahmadis consider themselves to be Muslims, but the Pakistani government does not classify them as such, and Sunni and Shiite Muslim extremists have often targeted them, CNN said.

There are thought to be about 3 million or 4 million Ahmadis in Pakistan enduring "the most severe legal restrictions and officially sanctioned discrimination" of the country's religious minorities, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a non-governmental organization, denounced the attacks and said it had warned the government about threats to the Ahmadi community in Lahore for more than a year.

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