- Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez tells Hispanics to vote and ‘punish those’ who oppose amnesty
- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
- Friend of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty of impeding probe
- Train with MH17 plane crash bodies leaves rebel town in Ukraine
- Half of Colorado voters are OK with Hobby Lobby decision, poll shows
- HIV-killing condom to soon hit shelves in Australia
Gunmen kill Saudi diplomat in southern Pakistan
Question of the Day
KARACHI, Pakistan — Gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a Saudi diplomat as he was driving in Pakistan’s largest city on Monday, just days after two hand grenades were tossed at the Arab state’s consulate building, police in Karachi said.
The police believe the primary motive was sectarian tension between Islam’s Sunni and Shiite branches. But the attack also follows the killing of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden in an American raid on May 2.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, the country’s most high profile militant group, called The Associated Press to say it did not kill the diplomat.
Tariq Dharejo, a police investigator in Karachi, said officers believe the shooting was motivated by anger over Saudi Arabia’s decision to send troops to Bahrain to quell protests by Shiites, who comprise 70 percent of the population there but are excluded from key positions in the Sunni-dominated government. Saudi Arabia is almost entirely Sunni.
Sunni-Shiite tensions trace back to a seventh century dispute over the true heir to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Monday’s attack took place not far from the consulate building. The diplomat — who was driving a silver Toyota Corona and was alone — appeared to be on his way to work, said police officer Zameer Husain Abbasi. He said a 9 mm pistol was used in the assault.
The victim, identified as Hasan Khattani, was a member of the security staff at the consulate, said Iqbal Mehmood, Karachi’s deputy inspector of police. He said the shooting was carried out by two men on a motorbike and appeared to be linked to last week’s grenade attack on the mission, which caused some damage but no injuries.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned the diplomat’s killing and said in a statement issued Monday that Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistani authorities to increase security measures around the Saudi embassy and consulate in Pakistan. Prince Saudi al-Faisal, the statement said, gave condolences to the family of the slain diplomat.
Officials at the Saudi mission were not immediately available for comment.
In a statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and “expressed deep grief and sorrow over the tragic death of the Saudi diplomat.”
Pakistan’s alliance with Sunni rulers in the Middle East has come under the spotlight since the uprisings there this year. A company with strong links to the country’s army announced it was sending 1,000 Pakistanis to Bahrain to help its security forces put down the Shiite uprising.
Karachi is a violent southern city of 18 million people that has been a cauldron of ethnic, sectarian and political tensions.
Saudi Arabia has funded hardline Sunnis, Iran has channeled money to Shiite groups, and in the 1980s and 1990s the country was the scene of an effective proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Karachi an especially bloody battleground.
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Rihanna, Dwight Howard delete #FreePalestine tweets
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- Ron Paul: U.S. partly to blame for Malaysia Airlines disaster
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- EDITORIAL: Snipers from the left target Hillary
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq