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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Militants attack NATO oil tankers in Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 1, IRNA -- Suspected militants in southern Pakistan early Friday attacked tankers carrying oil for NATO forces in Afghanistan, officials said.

Some 20 militants fired rockets on the tankers at petrol stations in Shikarpur, a main city in southern Sindh province, District Coordination Officer, Saeed Akhtar Mangijo said.

Witnesses said two roadside petrol stations were also burnt.

Around 15 tankers caught fire and fighters were called to extinguish the blaze, Mangijo said.

He said most of the tankers were burnt. Fire fighters were also called from other cities as the local fighter bridage workers failed to extinguish the blaze.

The police exchanged fire with the suspected militants and the militants fled after the incident, District Police Officer, Abdul Hameed Khosa said.

Police sources said that at least three people died due to burnt injuries. Three other people were injured, they said. They were sleeping in the tankers, police said. Khosa said that extremists could be behind the attack.

TV footage showed burning oil tankers and petrol stations.

Khosa said the police put on alert the police in the region to apprehend the attackers but no one was arrested. Officials said that troops were also called for support of the police.

Suspected militants regularly attack NATO supplies trucks and oil tankers in parts pf Pakistan particularly in the troubled northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and southwestern Balochistan, both bordering Afghanistan.

It is the first time that such attack was carried out in interior Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban militants have in the past claimed such attacks.

In June, around 60 NATO supply trucks were burnt to ashes and eight drivers were killed in a major attack near the capital Islamabad.

Also in April four policemen were killed as 12 NATO trucks were burnt in eastern Punjab province.

Officials say that nearly 70 percent of NATO supplies and 40 percent of its fuel are being shipped via Pakistan for some 160,000 US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Pakistani authorities blocked oil tankers and trucks carrying NATO supplies at a checkpoint bordering Afghanistan.

The blockade came shortly after NATO helicopters attacked a Pakistani border check post in Kurrum tribal region and killed three Pakistani soldiers and injured three others, sources said.

No reason was given for the blockade at Khyber Agency. However, sources said that it was reaction to the NATO airstrikes in the Pakistani territory.

NATO helicopters launched three attacks in Pakistan in a week, sparking strong condemnation in the country.

NATO defended the attacks and a spokesman in the neighbouring Afghanistan said the action was taken in self-defence as the militants had attacked a post in Afghanistan.

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