South Asia

Gunmen kill five children in attack on Pakistan bus

Gunmen have ambushed a school bus on the outskirts of the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least five children, police say.

The driver was also killed and 19 other children were wounded in the attack in Matani about 20km (12 miles) south of the city centre, police said.

The area is close to Pakistan's volatile tribal areas where Taliban militants are active.

But so far no group has said it carried out the attack.

Matani has been targeted before. In June, six people were killed in a bomb blast at a bus stop in the town.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that Matani has been the scene of a struggle between the Taliban and a local tribal volunteer force battling to prevent militants from entering the area.

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This is the first time a school bus has been targeted, our correspondent says. However, militants have attacked civilian targets to punish residents in the area for not supporting them.

The bus is thought to belong to a private school in Matani and was taking children back to a village after lessons. One report said that those who were killed were aged between nine and 14.

Witnesses say at least four gunmen opened fire on the vehicle.

"First a rocket was fired but it didn't hit. Then gunmen opened fire," said Sahibzada Sajjad, police deputy superintendent in Peshawar.

Police also said that it was not clear whether the gunmen had arrived by car or were on foot. They escaped from the scene after the shooting.