A bomb that exploded near a polio vaccination team in the volatile north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday killed at least two people, and possibly as many as six, police said, the latest in a string of attacks against health workers.
The blast appeared to target police who were assigned to protect the vaccination team. Health workers have been attacked repeatedly since the Taliban denounced vaccination as a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.
Two people were killed and about 20 wounded, Peshawar police official Najeeb ur-Rehman said. Other police reports suggested at least six people were killed, the BBC reported.
The bomb was placed directly outside a clinic in Sulemankhen, on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Peshawar, Rehman said.
Gunmen killed two female polio health workers in the same area earlier this year. Similar attacks have been staged elsewhere in Pakistan and also in Nigeria, where Islamist gunmen killed nine health workers in February.
Such attacks hamper efforts by global health organisations to eradicate polio, a virus that can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection. Polio remains endemic in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
A small but vocal minority of religious leaders in those countries accuse the West of using the vaccination campaign to cover up a variety of anti-Islam plots.
Eight new cases of polio were reported in Pakistan last week, according to the Global Eradication Initiative.
Violence in Pakistan’s north-west has shown few signs of abating despite efforts to open talks with separate Taliban groups in Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.
Source: The Guardian