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Pakistan bomb targets polio workers, two killed

Policeman and tribal leader die in blast reporter, Peshawar

October 7, 2013

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A policeman and a tribal leader were killed in a bomb attack on Monday believed to be intended for polio workers in Pakistan’s troubled northwest region.

The attack, which left 11 others needing hospital treatment, took place near a health unit in Budhbir, a suburb of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

“Police constable Sajjad and head of a local tribal committee Fida Khan have been killed in a remote controlled blast,” Najeeb ur Rehman, a senior police officer, told reporters. “Two more bombs found near the site of blast have been successfully defused by bomb disposal squad.”

No polio worker was harmed since they were inside the unit at the time of the explosion. According to a bomb disposal squad officer, four to five kgs of explosives were used in the bomb that detonated.

Monday’s incident is the latest in a series of attacks on polio workers in Pakistan. At least 20 people working to combat polio in Pakistan, where the disease is endemic, are reported to have been killed in similar attacks across the country.

No one has claimed responsibility, but in the past the Taliban has voiced strong opposition to the vaccinations, accusing health workers of being spies. Some hardline Islamists believe that vaccinations are intended to make Muslims sterile.

An attack by unidentified gunmen on polio workers in Peshawar in May left one woman dead.

Last week, officials at Pakistan’s health ministry and the World Health Organization confirmed that five children from tribal areas tested positive for the polio virus. 

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