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More Polio Workers Killed In Pakistan - Taliban Says Vaccination Is Sterilization



KARACHI - Three more health workers administering polio vaccinations in Pakistan were killed Wednesday, a day after five of their colleagues were killed in attacks blamed on Taliban militants. The nationwide campaign to immunize Pakistanis has been suspended after the latest shootings.

The three killings came in two separate attacks Wednesday against workers taking part in the campaign run by the United Nations UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The gunmen are suspected of including Taliban militants, who reportedly oppose the campaign that they say is actually an attempt to sterilize Muslims, according to Reuters.

On the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, two men fatally shot an 18-year-old worker as he was vaccinating children, CNN reports. The two other deaths came in the city of Charsadda, when gunmen opened fire on a car carrying a vaccination campaign supervisor and her driver.

Along with Nigeria and Afghanistan, Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio is still endemic. The Pakistani Government wants their 33 million children to be immune as fast as possible, using the 88,000 people work force. National health workers received the help of the United Nations' UNICEF and the WHO (World Health Organization) to fight the extremely contagious paralyzing epidemic.

The Pakistani government has renewed its commitment to the immunization campaign, with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf condemning the attacks and praising the efforts of the health workers, reports the BBC.

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Polio vaccine drops (Wikipedia)

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Palestinian Olive Trees Are Also Under Israeli Occupation — And That's Not A Joke

In the West Bank, a quieter form of oppression has been plaguing Palestinians for a long time. Their olive groves are surrounded by soldiers, and it's forbidden to harvest the olives – this economic and social violence has gotten far worse since Oct. 7.

A Palestinian woman holds olives in her hands

In a file photo, Um Ahmed, 74, collects olives in the village of Sarra on the southwest of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Mohammed Turabi/ZUMA
Francesca Mannocchi

HEBRON – It was after Friday prayers on October 13th of last year, and Zakaria al-Arda was walking along the road that crosses his property's hillside to return home – but he never made it.

A settler from Havat Ma'on — an outpost bordering Al-Tuwani that the United Nations International Law and Israeli law considers illegal — descended from the hill with his rifle in hand.

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After kicking al-Arda, who tried to defend himself, the settler shot him in the abdomen. The bullet pierced through his stomach, a few centimeters below the lungs. Since then, al-Arda has been in the hospital in intensive care. A video of those moments clearly shows that neither al-Arda nor the other worshippers leaving the mosque were carrying any weapons.

The victim's cousin, Hafez Hureini, still lives in the town of Al-Tuwani. He is a farmer, and their house on the slope of the town is surrounded by olive trees — and Israeli soldiers. On the pine tree at the edge of his property, settlers have planted an Israeli flag. Today, Hafez lives, like everyone else, as an occupied individual.

He cannot work in his greenhouse, cannot sow his fields, and cannot harvest the olives from his precious olive trees.

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