Pakistan: Six people killed in school shooting in possible retaliation for earlier teacher death

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Six people, including four teachers and two other members of staff, have been killed in a shooting at a school in Pakistan.

A group of gunmen stormed the government school where students were taking exams.

The atrocity could have been in retaliation for an earlier attack in which another teacher was shot dead on a nearby road, officials said.

The victim of the first incident was a Sunni Muslim, while those targeted in the school attack were Shia Muslims, said regional commissioner Saiful Islam.

Both incidents happened in the Parachinar area of Kurram tribal district in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.

The district has a majority Shia population who are often attacked by Sunni militant groups from the local Taliban movement.

Mr Islam said sectarian antagonism appeared to be the cause of the killings while the provincial chief minister's office said the shootings involved a property dispute.

"It is not clear whether the second incident was a reaction to the first one," said the commissioner, who added that security has been stepped up in an area already tense because of sectarian violence.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks and local police official Abbas Ali said it was not clear if they were connected.

"We are looking into all aspects, and so far we have no idea who killed the teachers," he said.

The prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, has condemned the attacks and ordered an investigation.

Earlier on Thursday, six Pakistani soldiers were killed in a shootout in North Waziristan, another district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

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The military provided no details on the shootout but said three militants were also killed.

The region is a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban - the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, as the group is also known - and also other militants. TTP is a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 has emboldened the TTP, which has stepped up attacks across Pakistan, mainly targeting security forces.

In recent weeks, the military has conducted multiple raids on militant hideouts in the northwest, with dozens of insurgents killed or arrested.