Vehicle hits mine in Pakistan, killing 14 Shiites

Published: 18th July 2012 05:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2012 05:38 PM   |  A+A-

A minibus carrying minority Shiite Muslims hit an anti-tank land mine in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 14 of them in what police described as the country's latest sectarian attack.

Eight members of one family, including three women and three children, died in the attack on the outskirts of Kohat city, said police official Naeem Khan. The group was traveling from Spai, a predominantly Shiite village in the Orakzai tribal area.

"It was a terrorist act. It apparently seems to be a sectarian incident," Khan said, adding that it was unclear who had buried the mine that hit the minibus.

Sunni militants in the region, including the Pakistani Taliban, have carried out attacks against Shiites in Orakzai and the neighboring Kurram tribal area. They have used anti-tank land mines in past attacks, said Khan.

Pakistan is a majority Sunni Muslim state, and most Sunnis and Shiites live peacefully together. But the country has a long history of sectarian attacks by extremists on both sides.

Attacks by Sunni militants on Shiites have also been on the rise over the last year in southwestern Baluchistan province.

The Sunni-Shiite schism over the true heir to Islam's Prophet Muhammad dates back to the seventh century.

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