Pak PM Gilani survives assassination bid

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Islamabad, Sep 3: On Wednesday, Sep 3, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani had a narrow escape from an assassination bid. The unidentified assailants fired at Gilani's motorcade on a highway. At least two shots had hit the Prime Minister's bulletproof vehicle, TV channels quoted officials as saying.

State-run PTV beamed footage of the damage caused by the bullets to the window of the driver's door of the vehicle. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the government claims that the prime minister was not in the car. The attack happened on the main road to the airport in the capital, Islamabad. Earlier, Gilani had arrived back at the airport from a trip to the eastern city of Lahore.

The attack came on the day when the US troops on Wednesday, Sep 3 launched a first ever ground offensive in Pakistan's Northwest Tribal Region in the ongoing war on terror. The attack, on a village in the area, according to government sources killed at least 15 people including women and children. The operation by the allied forces have been described by Pakistan as a violation of its sovereignty.

Gilani is a senior member of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's party. She was killed in a suicide gun and bomb attack on December 27, 2007 while campaigning for a general election. The government said al Qaeda-linked militants killed her.

Bhutto's party went on to win the Feb 18 election and Gilani became prime minister of a coalition government. Reports said the incident occurred at a spot where former premier and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif's motorcade was fired at on December 27 last year, shortly before Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairperson Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi.

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