26 Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims traveling to Iran have been killed after gunmen opened fire on a bus in Pakistan's southwestern province, Baluchistan, reports Reuters.
According to Reuters, four men attacked the bus, which was carrying more that 50 pilgrims.
"They opened fire on the bus from all four sides," said a police officer to Reuters. "Then they got into the bus and fired again." The bus was intercepted by a truck along a lonely stretch of road, reports the Miami Herald. The truck reportedly blocked the buses path, and then men, armed with AK47 and rocket launchers began firing.
Another three people were killed when the men opened fire on an ambulance that came to help victims of the attack.
According to the Miami Herald, the attack was carried out by Lashkar e Jhangvi. The attack is believed to be sectarian; Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority of Muslims in Pakistan, are loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban- who have carried out attacks on Pakistani Shi'ites before. The believe Shi'ite Muslims are heretics, reports the Miami Herald.
Lashkar e Jhangvi is particularly active in Baluchistan. Their leader, Malik Ishaq was released from prison earlier this year though he faced dozens of murder charges.
Four people are in critical condition. According to the Express Tribune, there was no security on the pilgrims' bus. A similar attack occurred last June when a group of armed men fired on a bus on pilgrims from Baluchistan to Iran. Then, two people were killed, and nine were injured.
According to the Express Tribune, the assailants escaped after the attack.