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WHO doctor in anti-polio campaign shot in Pakistan

Associated Press Modified: July 17, 2012 at 10:31 am •  Published: July 17, 2012

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Gunmen in the Pakistani city of Karachi opened fire Tuesday on a vehicle carrying a doctor working with the World Health Organization on an anti-polio campaign, wounding him in the stomach, the organization said.

The head of the World Health Organization's polio eradication program in Pakistan, Dr. Elias Durry, said the doctor is an international volunteer helping supervise the project. He said the man underwent surgery in Karachi.

Pakistan is in the middle of a campaign to vaccinate children under five. Taliban militants in northern Pakistan have barred the vaccination campaign from territory under their control, saying it can't go forward until the U.S. stops drone strikes in the country.

In a statement, WHO said the attack did not appear to be specifically targeting the doctor.

"At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that this was a deliberate or targeted attack against polio eradication efforts or WHO," the Geneva-based organization said. "WHO is grateful to the Pakistan authorities for launching an investigation into this event, to determine more clearly the circumstances."

Pakistan's largest city, Karachi has struggled for years with political and criminal violence.

Durry said despite the shooting WHO is committed to eliminating polio in Pakistan.

"This incident will not distract from the progress Pakistan is making this year, as the country is closer than ever to eradication," the organization said.

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