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Pakistani Taliban gunmen attack Pakistan mosques, kill at least 70

Attacks lasted for three hours and suicide vests packed with explosives were recovered.

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"I saw some gunmen run towards the Ahmadis' place of worship and then I heard blasts and gunfire," Mohammad Nawaz, a resident, told Reuters.
Stock market investors shrugged off the latest violence.

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"Initially we saw some selling after the attack but investors started accumulating shares at lower levels," said Asad Iqbal, chief executive at Faysal Asset Management Ltd adding that there was foreign buying which boosted local confidence.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index was up 0.75 percent at 9,511.75 points at 4:05 p.m. (1105 GMT).

Ahmadis are a minority Muslim sect founded in the late 19th century. They hold unorthodox beliefs among Muslims, including that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixion and died in Kashmir. Some also believe that prophets have come after Mohammad, the founder of Islam, but that he retains his primacy.

Pakistan is the only Muslim state to have declared Ahmadis non-Muslims. Its 4 million-odd members have seen their religious rights in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan curtailed by law.

Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the fight against militancy, is often the scene of sectarian violence, with militants from Sunni Muslim groups attacking Shi'ite Muslim and Christian communities.

Separately, security forces battled Taliban militants in the Orakzai region near the Afghan border in the northwest and about 40 militants were killed and 30 wounded in attacks by government aircraft in three places, a paramilitary force officer said.

There was no independent confirmation of the toll. Militants often dispute government accounts.

Government forces have stepped up attacks in Orakzai in recent weeks after winding up offensives in several other areas.

(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider in Islamabad and Faisal Aziz in Karachi; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Ron Popeski)

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