A  man comforts a mourner, following the killing of Shia Muslims, at a hospital in Ghari Hbibullah in the northwestern district of Mansehra on August 16, 2012.   — Photo by AFP

UNITED NATIONS: UN leader Ban Ki-moon was “appalled”by the sectarian killing of 20 Shia Muslims who were dragged off a bus in Pakistan on Thursday, his spokesman said.

“The secretary general expresses his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan,” said a statement released by UN spokesman Martin Nesirky which strongly condemned the attack.

Terrorists ambushed four buses, pulled out the passengers and shot at least 20 of them dead in the Babusar Top area of Mansehra district on Thursday.

Before killing the passengers, the assailants had checked their identity cards and shot them because they were Shia.

“More than 50 terrorists wearing commando uniform intercepted a convoy going from Rawalpindi to Gilgit-Baltistan before 7am, hauled off passengers from four vans, identified them through their national identity cards and shot 19 of them dead,” District Coordination Officer Dr Amber Ali Khan said.

He said several CNICs had been found at the place in the mountain range where the attack had taken place.

“This attack appears to be similar to the one carried out in Harban area of Kohistan in February and almost all the victims belonged to the Shia community,” he said.

It was the third attack of its kind in six months.

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