Five out of seven teachers killed in school shooting in Pakistan

PARACHINAR, Pakistan: Five teachers and two workers were shot dead at a school in northwest Pakistan on Thursday in an attack linked to Sunni-Shia sectarian tensionspolice and government officials said.
Two shooters entered the school in the remote border town of Teri Mangal, less than a kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Afghan border in Kurram district, as teachers gathered exam papers that had been completed earlier in the day.
“When the two assailants entered inside (the school), they identified Shiites and separated them before opening fire,” district police chief Muhammad Imran told AFP. .
The shooting came after news broke that a Sunni Muslim man had died in hospital from injuries he sustained in an attack on his car earlier in the day, said Amir Nawaz, a senior local government official.
“The first incident took place at 11:30 a.m. (06:30 GMT) and the second attack took place at 2:30 p.m. These attacks were linked to sectarian violence,” Nawaz said, confirming the death toll in both attacks.
“The teachers were organizing and compiling the paperwork when the gunmen entered the school,” he added.
Zulfiqar Khan, a local health official, said a state of emergency had been declared in local hospitals.
The teachers’ bodies were carried out of the hospital in coffins and loaded into ambulances to be transported to burial sites, an AFP journalist noted.
Police said authorities were in talks with the two religious communities to restore peace in the Shiite-majority district of Kurram, which has decades of sectarian violence.
A gathering of jirga – a tribal council of community elders to settle disputes – was underway.
Religious tensions in the district date back decades and have virtually split Kurram into two halves, Akhtar Ali Shah, a former provincial police chief, told AFP.
“There is (a) a Shia population on one side and a Sunni population on the other. Even a minor incident can trigger clashes, so caution is always advised,” he said.
Tensions have risen over the past month, with four people killed in separate shootings, according to an intelligence official who asked not to be named.
Shia Muslims make up about 20% of Pakistan’s population of over 220 million.
Kurram is part of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semi-autonomous region in northwest Pakistan that merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2018, bringing it into the legal and administrative mainstream.


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