Attackers on motorcycles have opened fire in Quetta, in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least six Shia Muslims, according to police and local media.
Three others were wounded in Tuesday's apparent sectarian attack when the four assailants targeted a shoe store. The injured were immediately moved to hospital for treatment.
A spokesman for the banned Sunni Muslim armed group, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ), claimed responsibility for the killing, Dawn, the English-language Pakistani newspaper, said.
Reports suggested protesters gathered in front of the hospital after the bodies were delivered and tried to block the main road.
The majority of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims, with Shia Muslims accounting for around 15 per cent of a population of around 180 million.
Both communities largely live in peace with each other but radicals from the two sides have killed thousands of people in conflicts since the beginning of religious extremism in the country in the 1980s.
At least six Shia Muslims, among them women, were killed on March 29 when armed men opened fire on a passenger van also in Quetta, which is the biggest city in Balochistan province.
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|Allen L. Jasson|
|Liaquat Ali Khan|