Pakistani Taliban says PM’s helicopter was target

Military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a Twitter post that as well as the four foreigners, the two pilots were killed. (File photo: Reuters)

The Pakistani Taliban Friday claimed responsibility for downing a military helicopter, killing six people including the Norwegian and Philippine envoys, and said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was their target.

“The helicopter was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, killing pilots and many foreign ambassadors,” an Urdu-language statement emailed by their main spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said.

“A special group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had prepared a special plan to target Nawaz Sharif during his visit but he survived because he was travelling in another helicopter,” Khorasani added.

It was not immediately possible to verify the claim, but the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan’s north where the chopper came down is not known as a stronghold of the militant organization.

Officials have not yet commented on the Taliban claim. The ministry of defence issued a statement saying it was investigating what caused the crash.

The helicopter, which was carrying diplomats to the launch of projects in northern Pakistan, crashed on Friday killing six people, including the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines and the wives of the ambassadors of Malaysia and Indonesia, the army said.

Military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a Twitter post that as well as the four foreigners, the two pilots were killed.

He said the ambassadors of Poland and the Netherlands were among the injured.

Media said 11 foreigners and six Pakistanis were on board the MI-17, which crashed into a school Gilgit and caught fire.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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