Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani dodged an assassination attempt after his motorcade came under gunfire earlier today. The Taliban have taken credit for the attack.
The attack occurred as the prime minister and his entourage was traveling on the Islamabad Highway. Gilani was returning to Islamabad from the city of Lahore when “multiple sniper shots” were fired at the convoy.
Two bullets struck the driver’s side window but failed to penetrate the bulletproof glass. Gilani was not wounded in the attack. Police detained three suspects shortly after the ambush, and the government has ordered an investigation into the assassination attempt.
The Pakistani Taliban took credit for the attack on Gilani’s motorcade. Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said the attack was in response to the military operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. The Taliban have said they are targeting senior Pakistani military and governmental leaders, including Gilani; the Pakistan People’s Party’s candidate for president, Asif Zardari; Rehman Malik, the adviser to the ministry of interior; and General Kiyani, the chief of staff for the Pakistani Army.
“We will continue such attacks on government officials and installations,” Muslim Khan said. Khan is a spokesman for Swat Taliban commander Mullah Fazlullah.
Today’s attack is the 10th major strike in Pakistan since Aug. 12. Taliban bombers have struck in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Wah, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, and Bannu, killing more than 170 Pakistanis and wounding more than 250, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. The Taliban also attempted to kill the senior US diplomat in Peshawar on Aug. 26.
Despite the Taliban’s stepped up campaign, the government declared a cease-fire for the month of Ramadan. The military stopped offensive operations in the tribal areas and the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province, despite a deadly Taliban insurgency that has struck at the military and government in the heart of the country.
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