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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Pakistan school shuts after attack
Protestors after the attack on school
There were protests after the attack on Christian school

A Christian school attacked in Pakistan by suspected Muslim extremists has closed for one academic year due to security concerns, the school says.

Masked gunmen stormed the school for foreign aid workers' children in the Murree hills about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north-east of Islamabad earlier this month, killing six Pakistanis and wounding four others.

The three attackers later blew themselves up with the grenades when they were encircled by police and villagers in hills further north of Murree, near the border with Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said.

A Murreea school official told the BBC: "Our school was attacked and we did not want to put the lives of students, Pakistani employees, neighbours and friends at risk - so we have closed down the school for a year."

String of attacks

The Murree Christian School was attended by about 150 pupils of all ages from Australia, Britain, Finland, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden and the United States.

Expatriates at the school after the attack
Police say many more could have been killed
Some have gone back to their countries but most of the children are still in Pakistan with their parents.

There has been a string of deadly attacks on foreigners that have claimed French, American and Pakistani lives.

Dozens of suspects have been arrested in a countrywide crackdown against militants.

Growing tension

Officials blame the attacks on Muslim extremists enraged at President Pervez Musharraf's siding with the US-led campaign against terror.

Following the attacks, Western embassies have issued warnings to their citizens to restrict their movements in Pakistan.

The US consulate in southern port city of Karachi, where much of the violence has taken place, has been closed, while the French consulate in the city has been shifted for security concerns.

Observers say the recent attacks against foreigners are hampering the government's efforts to boost Pakistan's fragile economy.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

05 Aug 02 | South Asia
05 Aug 02 | South Asia
05 Aug 02 | South Asia
14 Jun 02 | South Asia
08 May 02 | South Asia
28 Oct 01 | South Asia
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