A group of gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a bus in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi on Wednesday, killing at least 43 people and vowing to conduct further attacks on religious minorities.
Reuters reports that on Wednesday, television channels carried pictures of a pink bus covered in bullet holes and lines of waiting ambulances.
"There were six attackers. They boarded the bus and carried out the shooting," Police Superintendent Najib Khan told the news source. Khan added that all passengers were from the Ismaili community, a minority Shi'ite Muslim sect in majority-Sunni Pakistan.
Jundullah, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the tragedy and promised future attacks.
"These killed people were Ismaili and we consider them kafir (non-Muslim). We had four attackers. In the coming days we will attack Ismailis, Shi'ites and Christians," spokesman Ahmed Marwat told Reuters.
CNN reports that the bus was in a relatively deserted area on the outskirts of the city traveling to a community center for a daily worship service for Ismaili Shiite Muslims. Investigator Khadim Hussain said the attackers ordered the passengers to bow their heads and not look up before opening fire at close range. In addition to the 43 people killed, including a 16 year-old, another 13 were wounded.
Although wounded, the bus driver managed to drive to a nearby hospital, said Mohammad Imran, a guard there. Imran said when he got on the bus later, he saw blood still seeping across its seats and floor.
"I hardly saw any survivor," he said.
The AP reports that pamphlets found nearby the site of the attack revealed the terrorist group had carried it out, calling it revenge for the killing of their fellow extremist fighters in Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, police officer Najeeb Khan said.
Khan said the pamphlet read: "We swear that we will keep on making you and your families mourn in tears of blood."
Wednesday's tragic event is the latest in a string of terrorist attacks carried out by Taliban splinter groups targeting religious minorities this year.
In March, suicide bombings outside two churches in Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80. Days later, a bomb after Friday prayers wounded 12 people outside a minority Bohra mosque in Karachi.
In February, 20 people were killed in an attack on a Shi'ite mosque in the northeastern city of Peshawar, and 60 were killed in a January attack on a Shi'ite mosque in the southern province of Sindh.
"These are the people who are extremists, who are terrorists," provincial police chief Ghulam Haider Jamali said of the gunmen, the AP reports. "These are the same people who have been doing terrorism before."
On Wednesday, Qaim Ali Shah, the chief minister of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, condemned the attacks and extended his condolences to the families of those killed. "They were innocent people," he said. "We feel very sorry for this ghastly act."