Washington: The United States Saturday
condemned the deadly violence against a minority religious
sect in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
"We condemn this brutal violence against innocent people.
We also condemn the targeting and violence against any
religious group, in this case the Ahmadi community," State
Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
He sent US condolences to the families of the some 80
people who were killed during Friday prayers when gunmen
wearing suicide vests stormed two Pakistani mosques belonging
to the Ahmadi sect in Lahore.
Squads of militants burst into prayer halls firing guns,
throwing grenades and taking hostages in the deadliest attack
on the city of eight million, which has been increasingly hit
by Taliban and al Qaeda-linked violence.
Repeating remarks by the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne
Patterson, Crowley said the "cowardly assaults on people at
prayer are attacks against people of all faiths.
"Pakistan has witnessed an increase in provocative
statements that promote intolerance and are incitement to
extremist violence," he said.
"Attacks by extremists on religious minorities in
Pakistan undermine the building of a tolerant democratic