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KARACHI: A 55-year-old man, his young son and their acquaintance were killed in an ambush minutes after they had come out of an Imambargah near Shafiq Mor in North Karachi after offering Friday prayers.

The attack, which police suspected was of sectarian nature, took place two days after a city warden’s vehicle had come under attack hardly a kilometre from the same place, killing one of its personnel, his friend and the latter’s eight-year-old daughter.

Friday’s incident took place amid a new wave of targeted attacks while the Rangers-led operation against militants and terrorists continued in the city.

Karachi Central SSP Muqadas Haider told Dawn that when the man and his son came out of the Shah Najaf Imambargah in Bufferzone area, their family friend picked them up on his motorbike. They had gone about one and a half kilometres when one of the four men on two motorcycles opened fire on them.

They were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors declared both the man and his son dead. The third person died during treatment, additional police surgeon Dr Rohina Hasan said.

The victims had suffered bullet wounds on their head and face. The father received three bullets, son two and the third man one.

The SSP quoted witnesses as saying that the attackers had been following them from the Imambargah since they could not target them there because of the presence of police.

Police released the sketch of the suspect who had opened the fire.

Investigators found five spent bullet casings of 0.9mm pistol from the crime scene and sent them to police’s forensic laboratory.

The lab report suggested that the same weapon had been used for killing senior lawyer Amir Ali Shah on the University Road, near Hasan Square, on Aug 28 last year, the SSP said.

Karachi-West Zone DIG Feroze Shah said the triple murder might be a reaction to the killing of members of banned outfits in recent ‘encounters’ and arrest of their colleagues.

Secondly, he added, one of the victims was a police ‘informer’ whose activities might be the reason for the attack.

The DIG said Rangers had arrested a suspected militant in Liaquatabad.

Meanwhile, Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen condemned what it called targeted killing of three members of the Shia community and regretted that Karachi was again becoming a haven for banned outfits. In a statement, it called for an operation against such outfits and arrest of the culprits involved in Friday’s attack.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2016