UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday strongly condemned a bus attack in northern Pakistan, killing at least 25 innocent passengers and causing multiple injuries.

In a statement released here by the secretary-general’s spokesperson, the UN chief strongly condemned the ‘appalling’ attack, which reportedly targeted Shia Muslims.

“The Secretary-General expressed his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan,” said the statement. “He also extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Pakistan.”

At least 15 people were killed and several others injured when some unknown gunmen opened fire at passenger vans in Mansehra distrcit on Thursday, according to media reports in Pakistan. This is the second incident of bus attacks in the area over the last six months. Earlier in February, 18 people were killed and five others injured in a passenger bus attack of a sectarian nature in Gilgit.