Police: Gunmen kill 18 bus passengers in Pakistan

February 28, 2012 - 3:15 AM

MANSEHRA, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen attacked a bus in northern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 18 passengers on board, police said.

The incident occurred in the remote mountainous village of Harban Nala in Kohistan district, which is some 211 miles (340 kilometers) north of the capital Islamabad.

Police officer Mohammad Azhar said the bus was traveling to Gilgit when the gunmen attacked it and shot the passengers.

Azhar did not immediately have more details of the attack or information about possible survivors.

It was unclear what the motive for the attack was, but in the past Sunni extremists have killed Shia Muslims in that part of Pakistan.

Sunni extremists allied to or inspired by al-Qaida and the Taliban routinely attack government and security force targets, as well as religious minorities and other Muslim sects they consider infidels. Most of the violence has been in the northwest, close to Afghanistan.

Many thousands have been killed in the last five years, and attacks on Shiites — targeted purely because of their sect — have been some of the bloodiest.

(This version CORRECTS location of district in story and long headline to northern, not northwestern.)