Gunmen target senior Pakistan army officer

/ Source: The Associated Press

Gunmen on a motorcycle wounded a senior army officer and soldier in the Pakistani capital Friday, the third such attack in about two weeks as militants retaliate against a new military offensive along the Afghan border.

The militants hope the wave of attacks, which have killed some 300 civilians and security forces in the past month, will weaken the army's resolve as it pushes deeper into South Waziristan, the mountainous stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan.

Gunmen opened fire at the personal vehicle of the army officer, who held the rank of brigadier, while it was in a residential district of Islamabad, said police official Mohammad Asghar. The gunmen then sped off, he said.

Hospital official Arshad Khokhar said the brigadier and the soldier, who was also in the vehicle, were in stable condition. A brigadier is equivalent to a brigadier general in the U.S. Army.

Earlier attacks
The attack followed two similar shootings last month in Islamabad.

Gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed a brigadier and a soldier on Oct. 22 as they were riding in an army jeep in Islamabad in what was believed to be the first assassination of an army officer in the capital.

Less than a week later, gunmen attacked another brigadier as he was driving to a bank in Islamabad with his mother, but they escaped unharmed.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but suspicions fell on the Pakistani Taliban, which has declared war on the government because the group deems it unIslamic and is angry about its support for the U.S. war against terrorism.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for scores of attacks in Pakistan, many of them carried out by suicide bombers. The recent shootings could indicate the militants are also turning to targeted assassinations to stoke even more fear.

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