- The Washington Times - Friday, February 28, 2003

KARACHI, Pakistan, Feb. 28 (UPI) — Two people were killed and several others injured Friday in a shooting outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi.

Five policemen, including an inspector, were also injured in the attack, a spokesman for the Karachi police said.

One of the assailants was caught after a chase through a nearby park. Police said the suspect was an Afghan national. They confiscated a pistol from him.

The gunmen fired at police from the park as they were having lunch. Security has been tight at the consulate since June 14 when the compound was the target of a bomb attack that killed 12 people and injured dozens of others. A car loaded with explosives was driven near a police post and set off. All of those killed in the blast were Pakistanis.

The mission built high walls around the building while police set up cement barricades to keep vehicles from entering the area.

Five suspects accused of masterminding the June bombing are on trial in Karachi, charged with conspiracy, murder and terrorism. They face the death penalty if convicted.

Previous attacks on U.S. and other Western targets have been blamed on religious extremists angered by President Pervez Musharraf's decision to join the U.S.-led alliance against terrorism by dumping Pakistan's former Taliban allies.

Taliban supporters are also blamed for killing hundreds of Muslim Shiite and Christian minorities to show their rejection of Musharraf's decision.

Observers say violence could increase if the United States attacks Iraq, a fellow Muslim nation.

On Thursday, the U.S. Embassy warned Americans living in Pakistan to avoid public places as they expect a string of expected demonstrations if military force is used against Iraq.

The embassy also has introduced a new "Demonstration Alert" feature on its Web site to keep track of the protests.

"Demonstrations in opposition to US policy on Iraq are expected in various cities in Pakistan in the coming weeks," the embassy said.


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