South Asia News
Gunmen kill 18 Shiites in north-western Pakistan
Feb 28, 2012, 10:27 GMT
Islamabad - At least 18 people were killed and nine more injured Tuesday when militants associated with the Taliban attacked Shiite bus passengers in Pakistan's north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, police said.
The pre-dawn attack occurred in the mountainous Kohistan district, around 200 kilometres north of Islamabad.
District police officer Mohammad Ilyas Khan said that four buses carrying a total of 117 people, including women and children, and travelling along the Karakorum Road were stopped by gunmen disguised as soldiers.
'The gunmen checked the identity cards of all the male passengers and separated Shiite people from the rest, lined them up and opened fire at them. Eighteen people died while nine were injured,' Khan said.
The buses were travelling from Rawalpindi, a city adjacent to Islamabad, to the northern city of Gilgit.
The area is remote and police took several hours to reach the spot.
The Taliban claimed responsibility. 'Our friends in Kohistan have carried out this attack,' a spokesman for the group who identified himself as Ahmed Marwat said.
Pakistan has seen strife between minority Shiite Muslims and the majority Sunni Muslims for decades but it has been intensified in recent years due to the Taliban's support for Sunni extremist groups. Hundreds of people have died in sectarian attacks.
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