ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's security chief was killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack in the volatile port city of Karachi on Wednesday as he stopped his armored vehicle to buy some fruit, police said.
A senior officer in Pakistan's financial capital told Reuters that Bilal Shaikh - Zardari's close aide - was killed along with two other people in a prosperous area of eastern Karachi. About a dozen others were wounded.
"It seems that the suicide attacker walked up to Bilal Shaikh's vehicle and blew himself up outside the front passenger seat of the vehicle where Shaikh was seated," said police officer Raja Umar Khattab.
Pakistan has been hit by a spate of bombings since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn in last month, underscoring the challenges facing the nuclear-armed nation in taming a Taliban-linked insurgency.
A police escort was accompanying Shaikh's white armored sports utility vehicle when the attack took place. No one immediately claimed responsibility.
Shaikh - who had survived an earlier assassination attempt near his home in Karachi about a year ago - used to change his routes several times while travelling around Karachi, one of Pakistan's most violent cities.
Both Zardari and Sharif have issued separate statements condemning the incident, a private television channel reported.
(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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