Gunmen attack Pakistani buses killing 22 Shia Muslims

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- At least 22 people were confirmed dead after a violent attack against Shia Muslims in northwestern Pakistan, officials said Thursday.

A group of armed men ambushed three buses near the city of Gilgit, located in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region, at aroun 7 a.m. local time. The buses were carrying Shia Muslims from Rawalpindi to Astor when the attack took place. However, Gilgit authorities said the incident occurred in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Media reports indicate that the group of attackers, between 10 to 15 people, forced passengers off the vehicles and checked their ID's before shooting 22 Shia Muslims to death. Some reports said Pakistani Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the attack, but investigations are ongoing.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the deadly attack.

"The Secretary-General expresses his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan," Ban's spokesperson said. "He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan."

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