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Bomb targets Pakistan anti-polio campaign, kills 2

A bomb exploded in northwest Pakistan early Monday, killing two people taking part in an anti-polio campaign, a police official said, revising a higher toll that was initially reported.

The bomb went off just as a van drove by carrying security officials who were supposed to protect vaccinators as they went to local houses to administer the anti-polio vaccine, said police official Samiullah Khan.

Senior superintendent of police operations for Peshawar district, Najeeb ur-Rehman, says those killed were a police officer and a member of a volunteer peace committee. Police earlier reported that six people died but ur-Rehman says that figure was later revised to two.

The incident happened in the village of Malikhel, about 12 miles outside the provincial capital of Peshawar. 

Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

Part of the reason that it is still prevalent is that militants who oppose the campaign often target the workers delivering the vaccine and threaten people who want to get their kids vaccinated. Many Pakistanis also worry about having their children vaccinated because they view the vaccination campaign as a western plot to harm Muslims.

During these vaccination campaigns, teams of polio workers often accompanied by police escorts go door to door in villages and towns to administer the vaccinations.  The campaign targeted Monday had originally been scheduled for September, but was delayed over security concerns, said a health official. He did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

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