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Police: Pakistan army officer, mother attacked

Police: Pakistan army officer, mother attacked

A gun attack on a senior army officer and his mother caused no casualties but rattled Pakistan's capital Tuesday, just days after a similar strike killed a military official and signaled Islamist militants are turning more to assassination tactics.
Armed extremists in Pakistan have staged several assaults in recent weeks against security forces and other targets, apparently to retaliate for the army's offensive in their stronghold of South Waziristan, a tribal region along the Afghan border.
Last Thursday, gunmen on a motorcycle fired on an army jeep in another part of Islamabad. A brigadier and a soldier died in that attack. It was believed to be the first assassination of an army officer in the capital.
Police said Tuesday that the senior army officer, also a brigadier, and his mother were driving to a bank when attacked.
Authorities said there were two gunmen involved, but a man who said he witnessed the attack said a lone youth opened fire on the departing vehicle after milling around the house Tuesday morning.
Muhammad Imran, who runs a trading company opposite the house, said he was on the terrace when he saw the young man unleash a hail of bullets from a weapon concealed underneath his shawl just as the car slowed down for a speed bump.
"He was firing relentlessly. He was targeting the front seat of the car," Imran told The Associated Press by phone from the scene. "I later saw police collect around 15 or maybe 20 empty shell casings from the scene."
Another young man on a motorcycle then appeared soon after the barrage of bullets, and two sped away together, Imran said.
Senior police officer Bin Yamin said the army officer was wearing civilian clothing but drove a government car. Such vehicles have official license plates that bear an army insignia. A windowpane of the car was shattered, police said.
"It appears to be a targeted attack, but we are investigating further," Yamin said.
The army moved into South Waziristan more than a week ago vowing to crush the Pakistani Taliban, a militant network it says is behind 80 percent of the suicide bombings in Pakistan.
An army statement Monday said soldiers were progressing on three fronts in South Waziristan, but were meeting resistance on all of them. It said that over the previous 24 hours, 19 militants and six soldiers were killed.
Independent verification of army claims is very difficult because the military has blocked access to the region.
Militant attacks in Pakistan have surged this month, killing more than 200 people, as the Taliban have tried to avert the offensive.
The army has deployed some 30,000 troops to South Waziristan to take on an estimated 12,000 militants, including up to 1,500 foreign fighters, among them Uzbeks and Arabs. The U.N. says some 155,000 civilians have fled the region.


Updated : 2021-07-29 08:23 GMT+08:00