13 killed as gunmen target Shias in Pakistan

In the first incident, militants ambushed a convoy of vehicles in the Kurram tribal region.
The vehicles, which were coming from Kurram Agency to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar, were attacked in Bagan town.

The 13 people killed and eight more injured were all Shias, officials said.Eight persons were killed instantly while others died in hospital.The attackers set two vehicles on fire before fleeing.

Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search for the attackers.
In the second incident, militants targeted another convoy at Medani Dam in Kurram Agency at noon and hijacked a vehicle with 16 people in it.

The vehicle was taken to an undisclosed location in the restive tribal region.
Three persons injured in the attack were taken to nearby hospitals.There were reports that the militants kidnapped 45 people and took them away in three vehicles but this could not be independently confirmed.

No group claimed responsibility for either attack.Local residents said there had been four attacks within a fortnight on Shias, who travel to and from Peshawar in convoys escorted by security forces due to fears of assaults by the Taliban.

About 10 people were killed and 15 injured in the two previous attacks.
Kurram Agency and the adjoining Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have witnessed numerous incidents of sectarian clashes between majority Sunnis and minority Shias in the past few years.

Dozens have died in these incidents.Shia leaders condemned today's attacks and said the security forces had failed to protect the convoys.All main roads to Kurram Agency were reopened in February after being closed for almost four years.

Rival Shia and Sunni groups had closed roads in areas controlled by them and they were reopened under an agreement.

In a separate development, security forces targeted militant hideouts and killed seven suspected rebels in Orakzai tribal region, officials said.

Two militant hideouts were destroyed in the attacks in Shakartangi, Ghaljo and Mamezai areas. In yet another incident, pro-Taliban militants blew up two girls' primary schools in Khyber Agency.

The militants targeted the Hukum Khan Girls' School and Azam Khel Primary School with explosives in Landi Kotal area.

The schools were destroyed though no casualties were reported.Over 45 schools have been destroyed in Khyber Agency in the past few months.The majority of schools targeted by militants were girls' schools.

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