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Three Pakistani Schoolchildren Killed In Bus Attack

Students injured in the attack receive medical treatment at a local hospital in Peshawar.

Students injured in the attack receive medical treatment at a local hospital in Peshawar.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Four people were killed when militants fired a rocket at a school bus on the outskirts of Peshawar on September 13, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The dead -- three schoolboys and a driver -- were on their way home from school when the attackers fired a rocket at the van in Matani, a town on the outskirts of Peshawar where the Taliban have been active over the past few years.

Peshawar District Coordination Officer Siraj Ahmad told RFE/RL that the boys were from the Kalakhel village of Khyber, a tribal district located near Peshawar.

"A rocket was fired on a van [carrying the schoolboys] near the Matani bypass. Four people were killed and 18 injured," he said. "The dead included three schoolboys and a driver. The injured include schoolchildren and teachers."

Khan Wali Shah, a 10th grader, was injured in the attack. He told RFE/RL that the attackers opened fire with machine guns before targeting the vehicle with the rocket.

"We were on our way home from school when we were subjected to small arms fire. ... Then they fired two rockets and also lobbed two hand-grenades at the van," he said. "We started running. Some of my colleagues were killed and some were injured."

Although no person or group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, the involvement of Khyber-based militants is suspected.

Anwar Khan, an elder from Kalakhel village, told RFE/RL that residents of his village have never been involved in the ongoing fighting, either on the side of the government or the militants.

"We've had our own Peace Committee for the past 20 to 25 years. We have nothing to do with the government or the militants," he said. "God knows why and who attacked our children. We will find out later."

Matani has been the scene of Taliban attacks from the Khyber tribal district to the east and the Darra Adam Khel semi-tribal area to the south. Taliban militants and the Khyber-based militant group Lashkar e-Islam generally claim responsibility for such attacks.

A security official tests for explosives inside the school van after it was attacked by gunmen.