A minibus carrying Shiite Muslims hit an anti-tank landmine in north-western Pakistan today, killing 14 of them in what police described as the country’s latest sectarian attack.

Eight members of one family, including three women and three children, died in the attack on the outskirts of Kohat city, said police official Naeem Khan.

The group was travelling from Spai, a predominantly Shiite village in the Orakzai tribal area.

”It was a terrorist act. It apparently seems to be a sectarian incident,” Mr Khan said, adding that it was unclear who had buried the mine.

Sunni militants in the region, including the Pakistani Taliban, have carried out attacks against Shiites in Orakzai and the neighbouring Kurram tribal area. They have used anti-tank landmines in past attacks, said Mr Khan.

Pakistan is a majority Sunni Muslim state and most Sunnis and Shiites live peacefully together. But the country has a long history of sectarian attacks by extremists on both sides.

Attacks by Sunni militants on Shiites have been on the rise over the last year in south-western Baluchistan province.

The Sunni-Shiite schism over the true heir to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad dates back to the seventh century.