PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bombing near a security forces vehicle killed three soldiers and three children in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, while gunmen shot dead two minority Sikhs in Peshawar, officials said Sunday.
A military statement said the suicide bomber triggered his explosives-laden vest near a vehicle on security patrol in a village near the town of Mir Ali in the tribal district of North Waziristan.
The attack killed two soldiers in the vehicle on the spot and wounded another. Three children playing alongside the road were critically wounded. All of the wounded were rushed to a hospital in a helicopter but none survived, the statement said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The military said security forces and intelligence officials were combing the area searching for the bomber’s handlers.
The region has served as a safe haven for local and foreign militants for years. The military carried out a massive operation after militants attacked an army-run school in Peshawar in 2014 that left over 150 dead, mostly school children.
Also on Sunday, police officer Ejaz Khan said gunmen riding on a motorcycle opened fire on two members of the minority Sikh community in a bazaar in the Peshawar suburb of Sarband.
Khan said Ranjit Singh, 38, and Kanwal Jeet Singh were shot multiple times as they were setting up their spices shop in the Batta Tal bazaar Sunday. The attackers fled the scene.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Police were investigating but Khan said it appeared the two Sikhs were targeted because of their ethnicity. Sikhs are a tiny minority in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and have been targeted by militants in the past.
Meanwhile, Pakistani health authorities documented the third case of polio of the year in the country in the city of Miran Shah in North Waziristan. Dr. Mohammad Shahzad, the coordinator and spokesperson for the country’s anti-polio program, said the deadly virus was detected in a 1-year-old boy. Last year, just one case was reported in the country.
Riaz Khan, The Associated Press