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Home Minister of Punjab, 12 others killed in Pakistan suicide bombing

By Andrew V. Pestano
Home Minister of Punjab, 12 others killed in Pakistan suicide bombing
Shuja Khanzada, the Home Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, was killed Sunday along with 12 others in a suicide bomb attack. Photo courtesy of Provincial Assembly of the Punjab

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Home Minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Shuja Khanzada, and at least 12 other people were killed in a suicide attack on Sunday carried out by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant Islamist group.

The suicide bomb attack was launched against Khanzada's political office as he was meeting supporters in his hometown city of Attock, about 50 miles north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

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The Sunni militant group said it ordered the attack as a retaliation for last month's killing by Pakistani police of Malik Ishaq, the group's leader. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has links to al-Qaida.

Khanzada was a retired colonel who participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which led the the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan. He continuously received death threats, especially after the killing of Ishaq, who was designated as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" by the U.S. Department of State in 2014

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Khanzada was credited as being the leading figure in fighting against violent insurgent groups in Punjab.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was banned in Pakistan in 2001 for claims of having killed hundreds of civilians, mainly Shiites, in Pakistan. The group took responsibility for two bombings in Quetta in 2013 that killed nearly 200 people.

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