Gunmen kill nine people in northwest Pakistan

Gunmen attacked a mini-bus and two other vehicles near Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar late on Friday, killing nine people, police said.

The incident happened in the Mattani area on the outskirts of Peshawar city, the gateway to Pakistan's troubled tribal regions where security forces have been battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.

"Gunmen in two cars opened fire on a mini-bus, two other vehicles and on people who came out of their houses after hearing the gunfire, killing a total of nine," local police official Abid Khan told AFP.

He said those killed in the firing included six passengers and three local residents, adding the motive and the perpetrators of the attack were not immediately known.

Another police official, Iftikhar-ud-din, also confirmed the attack and casualties.

Pakistan says more than 40,000 people have been killed in attacks by Al-Qaeda and Taliban-led militants in the last decade.

Washington considers the tribal belt as the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.