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10 NATO oil tankers torched in southern Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Aug 1, IRNA -- Unidentified gunmen in southern Pakistan torched 10 oil tankers, carrying oil for NATO forces in Afghanistan early Monday, police and witnesses said.

Five people, including three drivers, were injured in the attack in Khairpur district of Sindh province, police said. The injured were transferred to a local hospital and they were treated of injuries. Doctors said two drivers received bullet injuries.

According to the police, the incident took place when unidentified armed men opened fire at oil tankers, moving from the port city of Karachi to the northwestern city of Peshawar. The tankers then cross into Afghanistan via Torkham border. Hundreds of tankers and trucks daily supply oil and other items for some 15,0000 US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Attacks by suspected militants on NATO trucks are common in Pakistan's restive northwest and southwest but such attacks are rare in southern Sindh province.

Police said the a group of unidentified armed men first opened fire and then torched the NATO oil tankers on the main highway, linking Karachi with the northwest, the main supply route to Afghanistan.

The blaze from the tankers spread in minutes and also burnt a roadside hotel and three shops. Traffic has also suspended on National Highway.

Fire tenders were called and they extinguished fire after five-hour of efforts, witnesses said. Fire fighters faced problems to extinguish fire because of huge flames.

TV footage showed the oil tankers were burning on the main highway.

The gunmen fled after the attack. No group claimed responsibility.

Police arrived at the scene and started search to apprehend the miscreants but no one was arrested until Monday morning.

Suspected militants routinely attack the NATO supply trucks in Pakistan, which forced the US to strike deals with Russia and some Central Asian states for alternate supply routes.

Pakistan is the shortest supply route to Afghanistan and officials say that around 70 percent items are supplied to NATO forces via Pakistan.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30502974

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