Pakistani bomber strikes US vehicle
Updated: 2012-09-04 08:09
By Agencies in Peshawar, Pakistan (China Daily)
Two Americans working for the US consulate were wounded in a bomb attack on their vehicle in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, the American embassy said. The blast also wounded two Pakistani employees of the consulate, the embassy in Islamabad said in a statement.
Earlier, regional Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters at least four people, including two Americans, were killed in an attack by a suicide bomber in a vehicle.
"We can confirm that a vehicle belonging to the US consulate in Peshawar was hit in an apparent terrorist attack," the US embassy said in its statement. "Two US personnel and two Pakistani staff of the Consulate were injured and are receiving medical treatment."
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which left a crater in a busy street. Firemen could be seen putting out a vehicle that was mangled and blackened from the explosion.
Television stations repeatedly broadcast an image of a US passport at the scene, its corners scorched by fire.
Pakistan's Taliban, who are close to al-Qaida, are blamed for many of the suicide bombings across Pakistan, a strategic US ally.
Those attacks had eased in recent months but it was not clear if the lull was due to pressure from military offensives or a shift in tactics.
The attack was a vivid reminder of the danger US officials face while working in Pakistan, especially in the country's northwest where Taliban and al-Qaida militants are strongest. Insurgents have carried out scores of bombings in Peshawar in recent years, but attacks against American targets have been relatively rare because of the extensive security measures taken by the US government.
The bomber struck the armored vehicle after it left the US consulate in Peshawar and as it was traveling through an area of the city that hosts various international organizations, including the United Nations, said police officer Pervez Khan, who was part of the security escort for the vehicle as it moved.
The attack killed two Pakistanis and wounded 19 other people, said senior police officer Javed Khan.
The wounds to the Americans were not life-threatening, a US embassy official said on condition of anonymity because the information had not been officially released.
(China Daily 09/04/2012 page11)