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Blasts in two cities kill, injure dozens

LAHORE, Pakistan, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Explosions Tuesday in Lahore and Karachi, apparently aimed at Pakistan's Shiite Muslims, killed and wounded dozens of people, authorities said.

The blasts occurred within 2 hours of each other, killing at least 15 people and injuring at least 70 in the largest cities in Pakistan, which is predominantly Sunni, Dawn newspaper said. Other reports reported a higher toll.

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In the first blast, in Lahore, police said a teenager blew himself up near a Shiite religious procession, killing 11 people. The Dawn report said the banned Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had targeted police.

In the second attack, in Karachi, a motorcyclist set off an explosion, killing four people including three policemen, the report said.

Shiites Tuesday observed the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

In Lahore, Dawn quoted the city's police chief as saying the attacker had strapped bombs to his body and was carrying explosives in a bag.

"He tried to sneak into the procession and exploded himself when police stopped him for a body search at an outer checkpoint," the official said.

The Karachi attack was described as a suicide bombing in which the motorcyclist carrying a bag in his hand struck a police van, Dawn reported. The blast in the Malir area of the city occurred when people were returning home after the Shiite procession.

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Various political leaders, condemning the attack, said terrorists were determined to promote sectarian violence in the country but vowed they would not succeed in their efforts, the Daily Times reported.

Besides sectarian killings, Pakistan also faces rising extremist and terrorist violence and target killings of prominent people.

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