PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) A U.S. diplomat narrowly escaped an attempt on her life Tuesday when two men with AK-47s jumped in front of her armored vehicle and sprayed it with bullets, staging a brazen attack that raised fears other foreigners could be targeted.
The attack which the driver eluded by jamming the vehicle into reverse and speeding away came just hours after the collapse of the governing coalition that drove Pervez Musharraf from the presidency as Pakistan grapples with escalating violence by Islamic militants.
A late nighttime bombing at a cafe on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital killed seven people and wounded 20, police reported.
Lynne Tracy, an Ohio native who heads the U.S. consulate in restive northwestern Pakistan, left her home in an upscale and heavily guarded area of Peshawar with a bodyguard provided by the local anti-terrorism squad about 8 a.m., police chief Arshad Khan said.
Moments later, the vehicle came under heavy gunfire, Khan said. He said no one was hit by bullets but a rickshaw driver was hospitalized after his three-wheeled taxi was hit by the consulate vehicle during its rapid retreat to Tracy's home.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Lou Fintor, declined to identify or describe any of three consulate employees in the vehicle, including where they were from or what role they played in what he would only refer to as a "security incident."
The attack follows a week of extremist violence and political strife in this nuclear-armed nation.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on Tracy and said the government was committed to ensuring the security of diplomats.