Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Four policemen killed in Pakistan gas station ambush

LYING IN WAITMilitants are said to have hidden near a gas station and opened fire on the police van, killing four policemen and wounding a senior police officer

AFP , PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN

Suspected Taliban militants killed four policemen in an ambush on their van in northwestern Pakistan despite peace talks in the troubled region, police said yesterday.

The attack happened on Sunday night in Matani, near Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, senior police investigator Nasirul Mulk said.

“The militants hid near a gas station and opened fire on the police van. It was a surprise attack — the police party could not even retaliate because the hail of bullets was so sudden,” Mulk said.

NEW GOVERNMENT

Four policemen were killed and a senior police officer was wounded in the attack, he said, adding that a hunt was under way for the killers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Pakistan’s new government launched peace talks with Islamist militants based in the country’s northwestern tribal regions on the Afghan border after coming to power in March.

The negotiations led to a drop in attacks but violence has begun to rise again in recent weeks, with a suicide bomber killing six people outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad a week ago.

The attack on the police in Matani came two days after a bomb targeting a police patrol killed three policemen and two civilians in the troubled northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan.

Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for that attack.

PREVIOUS CLAIM

“The bomb was detonated by our people because security forces have been arresting our people in Dera Ismail Khan and the nearby town of Tank,” spokesman Maulvi Omar said from an unknown location.

“Our negotiations are continuing but the government forces also carry out sporadic attacks and we respond. If they don’t stop their activity our men will continue to retaliate,” Omar said.

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