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Three Sunni Muslim Clerics Killed In Pakistan

KARACHI (Reuters) -- Four people, including three Muslim clerics, were gunned down and one wounded in a drive-by shooting in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi in a suspected sectarian attack, police said.

Saeed Ahmed Jalalpuri, a senior Sunni Muslim cleric, was ambushed by three gunmen riding on a motor-bike as he was traveling in a car with his three colleagues late on March 11.

"The attackers opened indiscriminate firing on the car of Mr. Saeed Jalalpuri as he was returning home after delivering a sermon in his mosque," Karachi police chief Wasim Ahmed told Reuters.

Two other clerics and a friend of Jalalpuri traveling in the car were killed while another man was wounded, he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

"It is a targeted attack. It could be a sectarian attack. We are looking at all possibilities," Ahmed said.

Earlier on March 11, gunmen attacked a radical Sunni Muslim cleric, Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem, in the city. Nadeem was wounded but his son was killed in the attack.

Thousands of people have been killed in tit-for-tat attacks by rival militants from Pakistan's majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite Muslim sects in the past two decades.

Thirty-one people were killed, many of them Shi'ites, in two bomb attacks in Karachi last month when Shi'ites were celebrating a religious ceremony.

Forty-three people were killed in a bomb attack on a Shi'ite procession marking Ashura, one of the most important events in the Shi'ite calendar, in December. Officials suspect Al-Qaeda-backed Sunni Muslim militants were behind these attacks.