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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Eleven killed in Karachi attack
A victim in hospital in Karachi
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack
At least 11 people have died in a gun attack on the motorcade of the army commander in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, the authorities say.

Lieutenant-General Ahsan Saleem Hayat escaped unhurt after unidentified gunmen tried to kill him, the army says.

This is the latest in a series of targeted killings and bomb explosions that have rocked Pakistan's biggest industrial city in recent weeks.

Most recent attacks have been blamed on militants sympathetic to al-Qaeda.

Officials said they were investigating if Thursday's attack was a reaction by Islamic extremists to the military operation against al-Qaeda sympathisers in the tribal region of South Waziristan.

Intense firing

Thursday's attack in the upmarket commercial district of Clifton appears to have been highly organised.

Eyewitnesses say the gunmen fired from two different directions as the military convoy passed by.

Soldiers at the scene of Thursday's attack in Karachi
The mayor of Karachi says better intelligence is needed to combat terrorism

The gunmen hit at least two vehicles belonging to the army and police.

So intense was the firing that hospital doctors said a number of bodies brought to them had more than a dozen gunshot wounds.

Of the 11 dead, seven were members of the military, three were policemen and one was a passer by, officials say.

At least seven others were injured in the incident, doctors at one hospital told the BBC.

Earlier the military denied that Lieutenant-General Hayat was in the convoy at the time of the attack.

Windows of nearby shops and apartments were shattered by the gunfire and the subsequent explosion, reports said.

'Work of terrorists"

Security forces have since surrounded the area. The police said they have defused one bomb.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Karachi mayor Naimatullah Khan denounced the violence.

"This is a terrorist attack. We will have to strengthen our intelligence network," he told AFP.

There has been a sharp increase in violence in Karachi recently.

May was the worst month in recent years - with more than 50 people killed in different incidents, much of it involving Sunni-Shia Muslim tensions.

In one incident, at least 14 people were killed when a man, apparently dressed as a Shia cleric, blew himself up in a Shia mosque.

The police chief of Karachi, Asad Malik, and two other township police chiefs were transferred after the wave of violence.

The BBC's Paul Andersson
"The past month has seen a dramatic increase in violence"

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