QUETTA, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistani officials said Monday they had killed the mastermind behind a suicide bombing at a mosque which killed 61 Shiites last month.
The January 30 blast hit the mosque in the Shikarpur district of the southern province of Sindh as hundreds of worshippers attended Friday prayers.
“We have been chasing Usman Saifullah Kurd since a long time. We finally got him yesterday and he was killed in the exchange of fire,” Akbar Hussain Durrani, home secretary of the southwestern province of Baluchistan where Kurd was killed, told AFP.
“Kurd was a key commander of the Sunni hardliner group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and was involved in the Shikarpur attack and many other major attacks in Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, particularly against the Shiites and Hazara communities,” he added.
Durrani said security forces received a tip that Kurd was having lunch at a restaurant in the city of Quetta, Baluchistan’s provincial capital, where the LeJ group is particularly active.
“Kurd and his accomplices fired at the forces when they entered the restaurant, and in retaliation was killed along with another accomplice,” he said.