Suicide attack targets US personnel in Pakistan | News | DW | 03.09.2012
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Suicide attack targets US personnel in Pakistan

A suicide bomber has attacked a US consulate vehicle in Pakistan. The consulate has said none of its staff were killed, contradicting some Pakistani reports.

The attack was carried out close to residential quarters used by the US consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar. An office belonging to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is also in the area.

Pakistani officials originally said four people were killed in the suicide attack, two of them Americans.

While the US consulate confirmed the attack, it said no US consulate staff were killed. In a statement, it said two Americans and two Pakistanis working for the consulate were being treated for their injuries.

However, a AFP journalist reported seeing two dead bodies in a hospital morgue, which police said belonged to passers-by.

Peshawar police chief Imtiaz Altaf said a suicide bomber rammed a "foreign mission car" with a vehicle carrying up to 110 kilograms (240 pounds) of explosives. He said up to 19 people were wounded in the attack.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said the bombing was "a dangerous move from the terrorists - they want to terrorise the foreigners."

Worsening relations

The attack was the most serious targeting US personnel within Pakistan in two years.

Although it was not immediately clear who was responsible, Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militant groups have sworn to avenge American drone strikes on Islamist militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Partly owing to its direct proximity to Afghanistan, Pakistan was an important ally in the US "war on terror."

However, relations have cooled dramatically between Islamabad and Washington after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore and US special forces found and killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year.

Anti-American sentiment was also fuelled by botched US airstrikes last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan.

tj/ipj (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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