ISLAMABAD — Unknown gunmen in northern Pakistan shot at a bus on Saturday, killing at least eight passengers and wounding 26 others.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in the scenic Gilgit-Baltistan province.
Arif Ahmad, the area deputy commissioner, said the “cowardly act” targeted a bus traveling to the garrison city of Rawalpindi on the Karakoram Highway that connects Pakistan to China.
He said the driver lost control of the bus following the attack and it collided with an oncoming truck.
Ahmad told a televised news conference that two Pakistani soldiers were among the slain passengers.
The assailants were reportedly riding a motorcycle and sprayed the bus with bullets before fleeing the site.
Rescue workers expected the death toll to increase.
Gilgit-Baltistan borders China’s western Xinjiang region and hosts the convergence of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, creating a stunning landscape.
Previous attacks in the province have been claimed by Pakistan Tehrik-e-Taliban, or TTP, an outlawed militant group and offshoot of Afghanistan’s ruling Islamist Taliban.
Pakistan says TTP has intensified attacks from Afghan sanctuaries since the Taliban returned to power in the war-torn neighboring country, killing hundreds of people, including security forces.
Taliban authorities reject the allegations, saying they are not allowing any group to use Afghanistan to threaten Pakistan or other countries.
Source: Voice of America