Pakistani Taliban attack Shiite children
Officials say the Sunni militants have attacked the minority sect as part of their strategy. Four children were targeted as they headed to school.
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Taliban militants killed four schoolchildren in a remote town in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt on Tuesday. Local officials say the attack has sectarian dimensions as militants – who hail from the majority Sunni sect – targeted students of the minority Shiite sect. Previously, the Taliban have singled out minority sects as part of their strategy in Pakistan.
The students were going to school in Atmankhel town of Orakzai district when the militants opened fire, killing four boys and wounding six others, local administration official Asmatullah Khan told AFP.
"It appears to be a sectarian attack as the slain students belonged to the minority Shiite sect of Islam," he said. "The attackers were Taliban."
Residents said the dead students were all younger than 16, but were not able to give the exact ages of the victims.
Eyewitnesses report that tribesmen from Atmankhel retaliated after the attack on the school children, killing two militants and leaving several wounded, reports Dawn, an English-language Pakistani daily.
The Pakistani Taliban have attacked schools in Pakistan's northwest since 2007, the Inter Press Service reported in January. According to the Associated Press, more than 170 schools were blown up or burned down by January as part of the militant campaign. These attacks did not, however, result in casualties, as the militants usually struck the schools when they were closed.