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Pak evacuates 120 stranded foreign tourists from Gilgit

April 08, 2012 20:27 IST

The Pakistani military on Sunday evacuated 120 foreign tourists, mostly Japanese nationals, who were stranded in the northern Gilgit region after sectarian clashes that killed nearly two dozen people.

The foreigners, including nationals of Norway, China, Germany, Thailand and Canada, were flown in a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from Gilgit town to Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi.

Gilgit has been under indefinite curfew since April 3, when nearly two dozen people were killed and over 50 injured in clashes between Sunnis and Shias.

The clashes began after gunmen struck during a strike called by activists of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a front for the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba.

Following the attack on the Sunni activists, a mob blocked the Karakoram Highway and killed several Shias after pulling them out of buses. Gilgit is the capital of the Gilgit-Baltistan region and is popular with mountaineers and tourists.

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