Militants gun down 7 aid workers

Continuing a militant campaign of violence against aid workers in Pakistan, gunmen Tuesday shot dead seven Pakistani teachers and health workers, six of them women, police officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the shooting, in Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, fit a pattern of militant attacks against charity and aid workers across the country in recent weeks that officials have attributed to the Pakistani Taliban.

The attack Tuesday, near Sher Afzal Banda village, was conducted by two men on a motorcycle who opened fire on a van bringing the workers home, police said. The dead worked for private aid group Support With Working Solution, working in the health and education sectors.

"They opened fire and killed six women and one man," said Javed Akhtar, executive director of the group.

Five of the dead were young women who worked as teachers at a primary-level school the charity ran in the area, Akhtar said. The other two were health workers.

Akhtar said no prior warning or threat had been given to his organization. But he and a wide range of Pakistani officials believed the attack was part of the broader Pakistani Taliban campaign against aid workers.

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