September 24, 2020

Gunmen attack school van in Pakistan, five dead

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen attacked a school van in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing three children, a teacher and the driver, police said.

At least five others were wounded in the attack in Matani on the outskirts of the main northwestern city of Peshawar.

The district is the scene of a vicious conflict between government-backed tribal armies and Islamist militants with links to al-Qaida and the Taliban who are based in the nearby Afghan border regions. The extremists have targeted civilians there before.

The bus was taking students home when the gunmen struck, said police officer Qayum Khan.

The wounded, which included boys and girls of between the ages of 10 and 15, were treated at a hospital in Peshawar.

Militants seeking to overthrow Pakistan’s Western-backed government have carried out hundreds of attacks in recent years. The army, supported by the United States, is battling the insurgents in several regions, but the extremists have proved resilient.

Most militant attacks are against security forces and government or Western targets, but civilians have also been hit, especially in regions where extremists are battling tribal militias. Analysts say the attacks are aimed at getting residents there to stop supporting the militias fighting them.

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