Gunmen kill constable protecting polio team in Pakistan

Police say gunmen on a motorcycle have shot dead a police constable guarding polio vaccination workers in rural northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Gunmen on a motorcycle Sunday shot dead a police constable guarding polio vaccination workers in rural northwest Pakistan, police said.

Senior officer Khalid Suhail said the attack happened in the village of Dhal Behzadi about 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Members of the vaccination team were unhurt, he said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

The attack came on the third day of a five-day polio vaccination drive across the province. It's part of a nationwide program to eradicate the crippling disease by the end of 2021. So far this year, no new polio cases have been reported in Pakistan.

Khan said after Sunday's attack in the district of Kohat, security for the vaccination teams has been enhanced. Some 40,000 police and paramilitary troops are assigned to provide security during the vaccination campaign.

Pakistani militants often target polio teams and police assigned to protect them claiming the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.

Last month, a police officer was killed while returning home from guarding a polio vaccination team in Peshawar and a roadside bomb exploded when a police van escorting a vaccination team was passing by in the Ladha area of South Waziristan. The explosion wounded a police officer but the vaccination team was unhurt.

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