Pakistani officer wounded in attack on polio workers dies, raising bombing death toll to 7

AP , Tuesday 9 Jan 2024

An officer who was critically wounded in a roadside bombing that targeted police assigned to protect polio vaccination workers in northwestern Pakistan died in a hospital on Tuesday, raising the death toll from the attack, claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, to seven.

A health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child at a school in Karachi, Pakistan
A health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child at a school in Karachi, Pakistan. AP

 

Police said in a statement that at least three officers remained in critical condition after Monday’s bombing in the district of Mamund, a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban promptly claimed responsibility for the attack. However, a competing claim late on Monday by the Islamic State group accused the Pakistani Taliban of falsely taking responsibility for the bombing. In the past, the two militant groups — which are both active in the region — have issued competing claims.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

Monday's bombing in Mamund happened after the government began another round of its regular vaccination drives. Islamic militants often target polio teams and police assigned to protect them, claiming falsely that the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.

The vaccination drive in Mamund was suspended for a second day Tuesday.

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