Four police, 4 others, killed in PAKISTAN violence


In separate incidents on Thursday, a soldier was killed when a roadside bomb hit a military convoy near the Afghan border and two people died in a mine blast in the southwest, where rebels are fighting for control of natural gas.


(15.06.2006)

Thu 15 Jun 2006 12:26 PM ET (Recasts with further attacks)
KARACHI, June 15 (Reuters) - Gunmen ambushed Pakistani police in Karachi on Thursday, killing four policemen, including a deputy prison chief, and a passer-by, officials said.

In separate incidents on Thursday, a soldier was killed when a roadside bomb hit a military convoy near the Afghan border and two people died in a mine blast in the southwest, where rebels are fighting for control of natural gas.

In Karachi, men armed with automatic rifles riding on motorcycles opened fire on the police car near the main electronics market. Hundreds of shoppers fled in panic.

"It appears to be a targeted killing ... It's confirmed that four policemen were killed," said city police official Sanaullah Abbasi.

A civilian in another vehicle was also killed, an official at a state-run hospital said.

Provincial Interior Minister Rauf Siddiqui said the attack was an act of terrorism but it was not clear who was behind it.

Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, has a record of violence but it was one of the most brazen attacks on police in years.

Islamist militants have launched a string of attacks on security forces and foreign targets in the city in recent years. Crime gangs are also responsible for much violence.

The head of police investigations, Manzoor Mughal, said the deputy chief of Karachi's central prison, Amanaullah Niaz, killed in the ambush, had received threats from "criminal elements". He did not elaborate.

The white Toyota police car was riddled with bullets and most of its windows were shot out. Blood was smeared throughout the interior of the car and on its doors.

Six people were wounded, three of them policemen. Two of the wounded were in critical condition, the hospital official said.

Islamist militants linked to Afghanistan's Taliban and the al Qaeda network are battling Pakistani security forces on the Afghan border, in particular in the Waziristan region where the soldier was killed by a roadside bomb, a military official said.

Pakistan has vowed to clear foreign militants from the area and hundreds of people have been killed in several years of fighting. The military said it killed up to 20 militants in an attack on a camp on Saturday.

Two civilians were killed in a landmine blast in a violence-plagued part of Baluchistan on Thursday, police said.

Von: 16.06.06 http://today.reuters.com By Waheed Khan © Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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