5 polio workers shot dead in Pak
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Gunmen killed five Pakistani women working on a UN-backed polio vaccination campaign in two different cities Tuesday, officials said. The attacks were likely an attempt by Taliban to counter an initiative the outfit has opposed.
The attacks came a day after an unknown gunman killed a male volunteer for the World Health Organization's anti-polio campaign in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi.
The government is in the middle of a three-day vaccination campaign in the highest risk parts of the country, part of an effort to vaccinate millions of children under the age of five. "Four of the women killed Tuesday were gunned down in Karachi," said Sagheer Ahmed, health minister for surrounding Sindh province. "Two male workers were critically wounded," said Ahmed, who wrongly reported earlier that one of them had died.
The attack on the polio workers was well-coordinated and occurred simultaneously in three different areas of the city, said police spokesman Imran Shoukat.
The government suspended the vaccination campaign in Karachi in the wake of the shootings, said Ahmed. The campaign started on Monday and was supposed to run until Wednesday, he said.
Gunmen on a motorcycle also shot to death a woman working on a government anti-polio campaign in a village near the northwestern city of Peshawar, said Janbaz Afridi, a senior health official in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Taliban have spoken out against polio vaccination in recent months, especially after Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor, ran a fake vaccination camp last year to help the CIA track down Osama bin Laden.
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