KARACHI: At least 45 people were killed and several injured after gunmen opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowrangi area of Karachi.
Between 60 and 65 people were riding in the overloaded bus, which belonged to the Ismaili community. The bus was traveling towards Aisha Manzil when it was attacked, police said.
All the victims, which included both men and women, belonged to the minority community.
“At least six gunmen attacked the bus in the Safoora Goth area of Karachi,” said a senior police official.
“The gunmen stopped the bus and first fired at it from outside,” said the policeman. “Then they entered inside the bus and open fire indiscriminately. After that they checked to see if anyone was left uninjured.”
Most of the injured were taken to the nearby Memon Hospital Insitute while others were taken to Aga Khan Hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
Initial police investigation revealed that the six gunmen riding on three motorcycles stopped the bus and entered it from the back door.
The attackers first killed the driver and then opened indiscriminate fire on the passengers, shooting them in the head and neck.
An injured bus conductor later managed to drive the bus to the Memon Hospital Institute, about 7 kilometres away, where an emergency was imposed due the large number of wounded people.
Injured eyewitness recalls horror
Recalling details of the attack, a 48-year-old injured female eyewitness told police that the bus was surrounded and stopped at a deserted area by the terrorists, who entered it from the back door.
She said that the attackers first killed the driver, while the passengers were told to kneel with their heads facing the ground.
The attackers, one of whom she recalls as being clean-shaven, took two children aside before one of them ordered the others to “shoot them all”.
Doctors at the Aga Khan hospital said the woman was shot but was out of danger. The fate of the children was unclear.
Police said the woman’s account was being treated as initial information, and that she may be questioned again by investigators.
At the Memon Hospital Institute, where most of the wounded were rushed, crying relatives formed a human chain outside the main building to keep onlookers away.
A sobbing middle-aged man said: “I have come to collect the body of my young son. He was a student preparing for his first year exams at college.”
The bus itself, which had been driven after the attack to the hospital, was blood-drenched and riddled with bullet holes.