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Attack Outside US Embassy in Pakistan Kills at Least 2 - 2003-02-28

At least two Pakistani policemen have been killed and six other people were wounded in a gun attack outside the U.S. consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Police say a lone gunman with a pistol opened fire on a policeman in Karachi. He then grabbed the wounded policeman's machine-gun and began firing at security personnel guarding the U.S. Consulate across the road. Two senior police officers died in the attack, and six other people, including a passerby, were wounded.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman told VOA that no consular personnel were hurt in the attack. Police sealed off the road outside the diplomatic mission after the incident, and witnesses say agents from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation could be seen inspecting the site.

Police say they arrested the assailant after a chase through a nearby park, and seized the machine gun. The detainee is said to be an Afghan national. There was no immediate word on the motive for the shooting.

This is the second attack outside the American mission in Karachi in less than a year. A suicide car bombing last June left 12 Pakistanis dead. Five suspected Islamic militants accused of masterminding that attack are currently on trial.

Pakistani authorities have blamed forces linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network for several deadly attacks against foreigners and minority Christians in various parts of the country over the past year.

The violence is blamed on anger among radical Muslims over Pakistan's support of America's war on terrorism in general, and on the invasion that ousted the Taleban government in neighboring Afghanistan in particular.

The United States and other foreign diplomatic missions have scaled down their staffs and evacuated family members from Pakistan since the anti-terrorism war started more than a year ago.