Gunmen in northwest Pakistan killed five female teachers and two aid workers on Tuesday in an ambush on a van carrying workers home from their jobs at a community centre, officials said.
The attack was another reminder of the risks to women educators and aid workers from Islamic militants who oppose their work. It was in the same conservative province where militants shot and seriously wounded 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, an outspoken young activist for girls' education, in October.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest shootings.
The van was transporting teachers and aid workers from the centre in conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It is an area where Islamic militants often target women and girls trying to get an education or female teachers.
Militants in the province have blown up schools and killed female educators. They have also kidnapped and killed aid workers, viewing them as promoting a foreign agenda.
Last month, nine people working on an anti-polio vaccination campaign were shot and killed.
The teachers were killed along with two health workers, one man and one woman. Their driver was wounded. They were on their way home from a community centre in the town of Swabi where they were working at a primary school for girls and adjoining medical centre.
Swabi police chief Abdur Rasheed said most of the women killed were between the ages of 20 and 22. He said four gunmen who used two motorcycles fled the scene and have not been apprehended.
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