Gunmen killed a Pakistani working at the Iranian Consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Thursday, adding to security fears in the country as it presses an offensive against the Taliban along the nearby Afghan border.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which follows the abduction of an Iranian diplomat in Peshawar in November 2008. He remains a hostage.
Iran is mostly a Shiite Muslim country. The victim was also a Shiite Muslim. Sunni Muslim militants like the Taliban and al-Qaida believe Shiites are infidels and often target the sect. In the 1980s, Iran was alleged to have funded radical Shiite groups in the country.
The attackers opened fire on Abul Hasan Jaffri near his home in a central part of Peshawar, police official Mohammad Kamal told The Associated Press.
Jaffri, who was the director of public relations at the consulate, died at a military hospital, he said. The gunmen escaped after the shooting.
|A Pakistani Army helicopter flies over the northwest tribal district of Mohmand in August|
Peshawar is one of Pakistan's most dangerous cities and a hotbed of militant and criminal activity.
In 2008, gunmen ambushed a car carrying the Afghan consul toward his home in Peshawar, killing the driver and abducting the envoy, who was had recently been selected as the next ambassador to Pakistan. He has also not been released. Suspected militants killed a U.S. aid worker there last year.
Peshawar has been the target of several of the attacks sweeping the country in recent weeks in apparent retaliation for the offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan.
A car bombing in a crowded market outside Peshawar on Tuesday killed 26 people. A suicide bomber killed three policemen in Peshawar on Monday, and a similar attack a day earlier on a market outside the city killed 12 people, including a mayor who once supported but had turned against the Taliban.