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Gunman Kills Two Policemen Outside US Consulate in Karachi - 2003-02-28

In Pakistan, two policemen have been killed and six people wounded in a gun attack outside the American consulate in the southern port city of Karachi.

Pakistani authorities say a gunman with a pistol opened fire on a policeman near the U.S. diplomatic mission in Karachi. He then grabbed the wounded officer's machinegun and began firing at security personnel guarding the consulate building across the road.

Regional police chief Kamal Shah told reporters that police arrested the assailant after a chase through a nearby park and recovered the machinegun.

"The policemen were targeted primarily," he said. "Two of our officers have lost their lives. Six people are injured. Four are policemen, one belongs to rangers [paramilitary force] and one is a civilian. Fortunately one of the criminals has been arrested. We are going to interrogate him."

Earlier reports suggested the man is an Afghan national. But police chief Shah says they have yet to determine the identity and motives for the shooting.

A U.S. embassy spokesman in Islamabad told VOA that no consular personnel were hurt in the shooting.

Police sealed off the road outside the diplomatic mission after the incident, and witnesses say American officials could be seen inspecting the site.

This is the second attack outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi in less than a year. A suicide car bombing in June killed 12 Pakistanis. Five suspected Islamic militants are currently on trial for their alleged involvement in that attack.

There have been several deadly strikes against minority Christians and foreigners in Pakistan in the past year. The violence is blamed on extremist forces linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network, who are angry about Pakistan's support for the U.S. led war on terrorism.