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Militants Take Aim at U.S. Consulate in Pakistan  

2010-04-05 19:26:45|  分类: 历史与文化 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Militants mounted an assault against the United States Consulate in this northern Pakistani city on Monday, using a powerful bomb and rocket launchers in a multi-pronged attack, said a senior Pakistani intelligence officer.

There were no casualties inside the consulate, the officer said, several guards outside were killed. Pakistani media reported that another eight were injured. A spokesman for the American Embassy in Islamabad, the capital, confirmed the attack.

Pakistani television networks showed footage of a giant cloud of dust and debris rising from the Saddar area where the consulate is located shortly after 1 p.m. Local media reported that there had been three blasts. Authorities cordoned off the area and gunfire was heard long after the explosions, which seemed to indicate a siege-like situation.

The blast was a chilling reminder of just how close the militants are still able get to their targets in Pakistan, where months of operations by the Pakistani military in Taliban-controlled northern areas have dramatically reduced violence.

On March 31, a militant who identified himself as Qari Hussein, the head of the suicide bomber training for the Taliban, spoke to a Pakistani reporter for Dawn, an English language daily, saying that the Taliban would soon launch attacks on important and sensitive targets in order “to refresh memories of the attack on the Khost base.” That attack, on an American military base in Afghanistan, killed eight Americans , seven of them Central Intelligence Agency officers.

A short time before the blasts in Peshawar, a bomb exploded in Dir Province, killing more than 40 people, according to the provincial information minister, Iftikhar Hussein, and media reports.

No one has claimed responsibility for Monday’s blasts. But the spate of attacks — the first in several months — seemed to indicate that the militants still had the power to strike, and were not ready to call it quits, security analysts said.

“The terrorists have sent a strong signal that they are trying to hunt down the Americans and those who are supporting their mission,” said Imtiaz Gul, a security analyst and author in Islamabad, on Pakistani television.

The senior Pakistani intelligence officer said that the consulate attack had been well-coordinated. It involved several militants, all with suicide vests and some firing rocket launchers, as well as a large bomb. It was unclear whether the bomb had been placed in a car or was carried by one of the attackers.

Media reports quoted witnesses as saying the attackers were wearing uniforms of the Pakistani security services but officials did not immediately this.

Militants managed to damage barracks that formed part of the outer layer of security for the heavily fortified consulate area, but did not manage to penetrate inside, the officer said.

The ceremony in Dir was to celebrate the renaming of North-West Frontier Province, was held by a Pashtun political party, the Awami National Party. Fifty people were injured.

“They want to give us a message not to hold activities like this,” Mr. Hussein said.

The bombing took place in the same area where several American military personnel were killed earlier this year, in a bomb attack at the opening of a girls’ school.

Ismail Khan reported from Peshawar, Pakistan, and Sabrina Tavernise from Islamabad. Pir Zubair Shah contributed reporting from Islamabad.

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