At least fourteen people, including four women, have been killed after two rival gangs armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine guns clashed in Pakistan’s main commercial hub, Karachi.
“It erupted this morning when two gangs exchanged heavy gunfire. Later, they fired RPGs and lobbed hand grenades at each other,” senior police official Faisal Bashir said on Tuesday. He added that the death toll is expected to rise.
The police official further noted that the violence in Lyari, one of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods of Karachi, broke out after one of the gangs abducted a member of the other on Tuesday night.
Local police said the clash has also injured 39 people, mainly schoolchildren.
Karachi is home to numerous ethnic groups and has been hit by clashes between rival ethnic and political factions for the past two decades.
Militants in Pakistan have carried out numerous attacks against security forces as well as civilians and managed to spread their influence in various regions of the country, despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army.
Thousands of people have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001 when Pakistan entered an alliance with the US in the so-called war against terrorism.