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Gun and grenade feud kills 14, mostly women and children, in Pakistan's Karachi

Rescue workers and relatives wheel an injured man on a stretcher, who was attacked by unknown gunmen, at Civil Hospital in Karachi March 12,
Rescue workers and relatives wheel an injured man on a stretcher, who was attacked by unknown gunmen, at Civil Hospital in Karachi March 12,

By Syed Raza Hassan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Rival gangs opened fire and lobbed grenades in a notoriously violent district of Pakistan's financial hub, Karachi, on Wednesday, killing 14 people, including eight women and three children, police said.

Karachi, a city and port of more than 18 million people, is home to many militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban. Many political parties there have armed wings to fight turf wars.

More than two dozen people were wounded in the violence which erupted in Lyari, one of South Asia's most dangerous neighborhoods, where rival gangs have been fighting for years for control.

A brother of a gang leader was killed by police on Tuesday night.

"In reaction, gangsters came to a market on Wednesday morning in Lyari and opened indiscriminate fire, killing women and children along with the men," senior police officer Abdul Khalique Shaikh told Reuters.

The wounded and dead were taken to the nearby Civil Hospital by private charity services active in city.

"Police and paramilitary have entered Lyari and two of the gangsters have been killed in the shootout by the security forces," Shaikh said. "We are conducting search and arrest operation in the area."

Security forces usually avoid venturing into Lyari.

Karachi, the nuclear-armed country's key port and home to the stock exchange, typically sees about a dozen murders a day, a combination of political killings, attacks by the Taliban and sectarian militant groups, and street crime.

(Reporting By Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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