Gunmen attack NATO fuel tankers in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked tankers in Islamabad on Monday transporting fuel to coalition troops in Afghanistan, police said, a move likely to delay the reopening of a supply route through Pakistan.
"There were at least 12 men carrying arms. They first opened fire and killed three guards and then set tankers on fire," senior police officer Mirwaiz Niaz told Reuters. Thirteen tankers were burned, he said.
Pakistan will re-open a supply route for coalition troops in Afghanistan only once public anger over NATO incursions across the border from Afghanistan eases and security improves, the foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
Militants on Saturday threatened more attacks on tankers to avenge the incursions, after setting fire to three dozen vehicles.
Angered by repeated incursions by NATO helicopters, Pakistan blocked a supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan after one strike killed three Pakistani soldiers on Thursday in the northwestern Kurram region.
The NATO incursions and the closure of the supply route, now in its fifth day, have heightened tensions between the United States and Pakistan, whose long alliance is often uneasy.
Pakistan is under U.S. pressure to crack down harder on militants in the northwest of the country, parts of which are described as a global hub for militants.
The United States and Britain warned their citizens on Sunday of an increased risk of terrorist attacks in Europe, with Washington saying al Qaeda might target transport infrastructure.
The moves came after a week in which a number of European officials had broadly confirmed media reports that new intelligence indicated possible attacks on the continent.
Western intelligence sources said militants in hide-outs in northwest Pakistan had been plotting coordinated attacks on European cities, the plans apparently surviving setbacks from drone strikes and an arrest.
The CIA has escalated drone strikes against al Qaeda-linked militants in Pakistan's northwest, with 21 attacks in September alone, the highest number in a single month on record.
Two more drone strikes on Saturday killed 18 militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said. As is often the case, there was no independent verification of the attack. Taliban militants almost always dispute official death tolls.
Civilian casualties caused by the missile-carrying pilotless drones, operated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, have infuriated many Pakistanis and made it harder for the government to cooperate with the United States.
(Additional reporting by Faisal Mehmood; Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Myra MacDonald)
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