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4 Shi'ites Killed in Pakistan

Pakistani volunteers unload the body of a man from an ambulance upon arrival at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, Sept. 10, 2017. Police said gunmen shot and killed four Shiite Muslims in an apparent sectarian attack.

Pakistani police say gunmen in Baluchistan province have killed four members of the Hazara community, a Shi'ite minority group.

"The preliminary investigation shows that it was sectarian-based targeted killings...," Amjad Ali Khan, a police commissioner from Quetta, told the French news agency.

The victims were traveling in a vehicle on the road between Quetta and the Afghan border.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. However, the Hazara community has long been a target of Sunni militants.Their distinct facial features of the Hazaras make them easily recognizable among the local population and therefore an easier target for those looking to kill Shi'ites.

Hazaras reside in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It was not immediately clear where the victims lived.

In Pakistan, attacks on Hazaras have been ongoing for many years. The violence peaked in 2013 when more than 230 people were killed in various attacks throughout the year, according to a list prepared by Shi'ite community leaders in Quetta.

In January of 2013, more than 100 people were killed in two separate bomb blasts.

In another attack a couple of years ago, militants stopped a local bus near Quetta, forced only the Hazara commuters off the bus, lined them up and shot them.