Attacks in Pakistan’s tribal regions, including school shooting, claim 14 lives - GulfToday

Attacks in Pakistan’s tribal regions, including school shooting, claim 14 lives


People carry a teacher's body into an ambulance from a hospital in Kurram district on Thursday. AFP

Gunmen stormed a school in Pakistan's northwest on Thursday, killing seven teachers and gunning down another teacher from the school in a separate attack. Earlier in the day, a shootout with militants elsewhere in the region killed six Pakistani soldiers.

Both incidents occurred in the Parachinar area of Kurram tribal district near the border with Afghanistan, they said.

The violence underscores the challenges the government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is facing amid a surge in militant attacks across the country in recent months.

In Kurram, a district in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan, a group of gunmen stormed a government school where students were taking exams. The seven killed teachers were members of Pakistan's minority Shiite community, which is frequently targeted by militants.

Another teacher from the same school, a Sunni, was gunned down on the road in a separate attack earlier in the day in Kurram, according to local police official Abbas Ali.

Following the incident, the ongoing matriculation exams — which kicked off on April 28 and are being held under the supervision of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Kohat — were postponed till further notice.

Parachinarshooting Security personnel and officials at the site of a shooting in Parachinar. AFP

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks and Ali said it was not clear if they were linked.

"We are looking into all aspects, and so far we have no idea who killed the teachers,” he said. The prime minister condemned the attacks on teachers and ordered a probe into the killings.

A statement from the provincial chief minister's office said it involved a property dispute, but the regional commissioner said sectarian antagonism appeared to be the cause.

The teacher killed in the first incident was a Sunni while those shot in the second attack at the school were Shiite Muslims, the deputy commissioner, Saiful Islam, told Reuters.

"It is not clear whether the second incident was a reaction to the first one," he said, adding security has been heightened in an area already tense due to sectarian violence. Local police said they were gathering more information as they investigated the incidents.

6 soldiers killed in exchange of fire with militants in North Waziristan

Earlier on Thursday, six soldiers were killed in a shootout in North Waziristan, another district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.


In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army media wing, said that an exchange of fire took place between terrorists and Pakistani army troops on May 4 (Thursday).

“Own troops effectively engaged the terrorists’ location and three terrorists were sent to hell, while injuring another two,” the ISPR statement said.

However, six soldiers were martyred during the “intense exchange of fire”. The deceased were identified as 36-year-old Havaldar Saleem Khan, 37-year-old Naik Javed lqbal, 26-year-old Sepoy Nazir Khan, 25-year-old Sepoy Hazrat Bilal, 22-year-old Sepoy Syed Rajab Hussain and 22-year-old Sepoy Bismillah Jan.


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