Gunmen kill nine tourists in Kashmir

Relatives weep after a bomb attack in Peshawar on Friday.

Gunmen stormed a hotel in a remote part of northern Pakistan on Sunday and killed nine foreign tourists and a Pakistani guide near the foot of one of the world’s tallest mountains, police and security officials said.

Initial reports say five are from Ukraine, one from Russia and three from China. A Pakistani woman is also said to have been killed.

The attack happened near the base camp of the Nanga Parbat Mountain, in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan.

No group has so far said it carried out the attack.

Police had at first said 10 foreign tourists were killed. The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

Part of the Himalayan Range, Nanga Parbat is one of the highest mountains in the world and a popular tourist destination.

“Unknown people entered a hotel where foreign tourists were staying last night and opened fire,” Ali Sher, a senior police officer, told Reuters.

A senior official said the area had been sealed off and police were hunting for the killers.

“Since the area is very remote with no roads or transport, their bodies will have to be retrieved by helicopter,” he said.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have condemned the attack.

Mr Sharif, who was re-elected earlier this month, said such acts of cruelty and inhumanity would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile Gilgit governor Syed Mehdi Shah is set to hold a meeting with regional law enforcement agencies on Sunday to discuss the security situation in the area, Radio Pakistan reports.

Correspondents say Gilgit-Baltistan, which borders China, had been considered one of the more secure areas under Pakistani control.

However, in recent years it has suffered a spate of attacks by militants targeting Pakistan’s Shia Muslim minority.

The area is famous for its natural beauty and the main city of Gilgit is seen as a gateway to the Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges.

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