Bomb Kills Three US Marines in Pakistan

In-depth Report:

TIMERGARA: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the bomb attack on Wednesday that killed three American soldiers, a spokesman for the network claimed in a telephone call to AFP.

“We claim responsibility for the blast,” Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq said, calling from an undisclosed location.

A bomb planted outside a girls’ school killed three US soldiers in the Lower Dir district. In scenes that have become familiar in the battle between Taliban militants and the state, a young girl trapped below the stones of a collapsed wall cried out for help.

Three children and a Pakistani paramilitary soldier were also killed and 45 people were wounded in the blast near Swat Valley, where the government mounted a crackdown nearly a year ago it said had cleared out al Qaeda-linked Taliban.

Wednesday’s blast occurred in Koto village in Lower Dir’s Hajiabad area. It was triggered by a remote-controlled device.

The three US soldiers were part of a small unit that trains Pakistani Frontier Corps responsible for security in the northwestern areas near the Afghan border seen as part of a global militant hub.

The Taliban spokesman alleged the dead Americans belonged to security company Blackwater Worldwide, which has earned global notoriety over its activities in Iraq. However the US embassy said three US military personnel who were due to attend the opening of a girls’ school were killed and two others wounded.

“The Americans killed were members of the Blackwater group. We know they are responsible for bomb blasts in Peshawar and other Pakistani cities,” said the Taliban spokesman.

“We have warned we will take revenge and today we have avenged the deaths of innocent people,” Tariq said in reference to an October 28, 2009 attack that killed 125 people in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar.

Blackwater Worldwide changed its name to Xe in February 2009, following what the company said was a switch of business focus. The embassy condemned the “vicious terrorist bombing” that targeted personnel who were due to attend the inauguration of a girls’ school renovated with US assistance.

“Three Americans were killed and two injured in a terrorist bomb explosion at about 11:20 am today in the Lower Dir district,” a statement said. “The Americans were US military personnel in Pakistan to conduct training at the invitation of the Pakistan Frontier Corps,” added the statement.

“They were in Lower Dir to attend the inauguration ceremony of a school for girls that had recently been renovated with US humanitarian assistance.”

After Wednesday’s attack which left a crater outside the school, an elderly man walked through the destruction holding a pile of books as soldiers stood by.

Locals tried to rescue school girls in blue uniform trapped below rubble. Others helped carry away the wounded.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi condemned Wednesday’s bombing in the district of Lower Dir. He said “terrorism will never be allowed to succeed in its nefarious designs”. —Agencies

Articles by: Global Research

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