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The World

April 4, 2011

Captured bomber in Pakistan vows attacks

(Continued)

MULTAN, Pakistan —

Mahmood said Hussain and the other attacker were at the shrine around for around one hour before striking. When Hussain's vest failed to detonate, he threw a grenade but it exploded close to him, blowing off his hand. Police then fired at him, hitting him in his other arm.

He was being treated for his injuries Monday, Mahmood said.

His comments to policemen offer a glimpse into the level of indoctrination he had received.

"You all are accomplices of the enemies of Islam who are bent upon eliminating Islam and Muslims," he allegedly said. "If I get a chance, I will again strike as a suicide bomber."

In a brief phone call to reporters, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, one of the country's largest and best organized militant groups, claimed responsibility. It is believed to be based in North Waziristan.

Followers of the Barelvi school of Islam, one of the two main branches of the religion in Pakistan, are most closely associated with the shrines and are seen as generally tolerant. The Deobandi school, of which the Pakistani Taliban mostly come from, regard worshipping at shrines as a deviation from Islam.

There have been at least five deadly attacks against similar shrines in Pakistan over the last two years.

While the attacks are motivated by religious differences, they also appear aimed at provoking sectarian warfare and making the government look weak because it is failing to protect the people.

The practice of visiting shrines is common among Muslims across South Asia, and those who do so insist they are not doing anything that contravenes Islamic law. The attacks on the complexes have caused anger, but many people — including educated, middle class Pakistanis, choose to believe in conspiracy theories that hold Americans or other non-Muslim, foreign powers responsible.

_____

Associated Press writer Anwarullah Khan in Khar contributed to this report.

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