Three journalists injured in Pakistan bomb blast

A bomb explosion injured three local journalists who were accompanying a convoy of security forces in the Lower Dir district of northwestern Pakistan on February 3, 2010, according to a statement by the Karachi-based Pakistan Press Foundation and international news reports.

The bomb exploded while federal paramilitary personnel were escorting journalists and U.S. soldiers to the inauguration of a girls’ school reopening after the Taliban destroyed it in early 2009, the foundation’s statement said. It was rebuilt with support from the United States Agency for International Development.

Amjad Ali Shah and Muhammad Imranullah Siddiqui, reporter and cameraman for Express News TV channel, and Muhammad Israr, a reporter for the Pashto-language TV channel AVT Khyber, were caught in the blast, according to the reports. Israr suffered injureds to his head, arms, and legs while Shah and the cameraman each received shrapnel wounds to the face, according to the PPF statement.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a militant umbrella group for the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. Three U.S. soldiers, two paramilitary personnel, and at least three female students were killed and 131 others injured, according to news reports.

Insurgent attacks are common in Lower Dir, part of a lawless tribal region near the Afghan-Pakistan border, despite U.S. missile strikes and a major Pakistani army offensive against militants last year.