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Nine killed in bus attack in northern Pakistan


By AFP
Published : 03 Dec 2023 09:29 PM

Nine people, including two off-duty army personnel, were killed when gunmen opened fire on a bus travelling through northern Pakistan, causing it to crash into an oncoming truck and catch fire, officials said Sunday. 

The bus was attacked at around 6:30 pm local time (1330 GMT) on Saturday from both sides by at least five militants. "Following the firing, the bus lost control and collided with an oncoming truck. Subsequently, both vehicles caught fire. Among the casualties are both drivers," said Arif Ahmed Khan, a senior government official for the district. He said eight people died at the scene while one person later died in hospital. 

Two army troops who were taking leave were among those killed, while 25 others were wounded. 

The attack happened near Chilas in Gilgit-Baltistan, along the Karakoram Highway that connects the capital Islamabad to the mountainous north and China, tracing one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road. 

The bus was travelling south to the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which neighbours the capital. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the region has long grappled with sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. 

Chilas, a town within the popular tourist destination of Gilgit-Baltistan, lies close to the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, a Chinese-backed mega project being built on the River Indus.