Japanese journalist attacked in northwestern Pakistan

November 15th, 2008 - 12:17 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Nov 14 (DPA) A Japanese journalist and his Afghan assistant were shot and wounded Friday in a kidnap attempt near the Pakistani city of Peshawar, while security forces killed at least four rebels in an adjoining northwestern district, police said.Motoki Yotsukura, a reporter with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, and his Afghan colleague Abdul Sami Yousafzai were travelling in a chauffeur-driven car when they were ambushed on the outskirts of Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province.

The driver reacted quickly and was able to speed away to the next police station at Hayatabad, said Banaras Khan, a police officer.

“A bullet hit the Japanese journalist in the leg but he was in stable condition and was transported to Islamabad,” Khan said.

According to the officer, Yousafzai was being treated in a hospital in Peshawar.

Both journalists had gone to the neighbouring Khyber tribal district to interview some militants and were returning to Peshawar when they were attacked, a law enforcer said.

“We were not informed about their movements,” he added.

The abduction bid came a day after gunmen kidnapped an Iranian diplomat, Heshmatollah Attarzadeh, after killing his Pakistani guard in Hayatabad. Attarzadeh, a commercial attache at the Iranian consulate, is still missing.

Separately, four insurgents were killed and eight were wounded in a swoop in the Charsadda district adjoining Peshawar, a security official said.

The operation, jointly carried out by police and the Frontier Constabulary paramilitary force, continued from midday till late afternoon in Pir Qala area. Two rebels were also arrested.

Violence has surged in Peshawar, which is located adjacent to the lawless tribal regions near the Afghan border, with authorities attributing it to operations being carried out by government security forces against Islamist militants.

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