Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

5 Japanese workers in Pakistan escape suicide blast targeting their van. A Pakistani bystander dies

News

5 Japanese workers in Pakistan escape suicide blast targeting their van. A Pakistani bystander dies
News

News

5 Japanese workers in Pakistan escape suicide blast targeting their van. A Pakistani bystander dies

2024-04-20 00:39 Last Updated At:00:40

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber targeted a van carrying Japanese nationals in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, police said. The Japanese nationals escaped unharmed but officials later said one bystander was killed.

Initially, police said the van was heading to an industrial area where the five Japanese nationals worked when it came under attack, local police chief Arshad Awan said. Police escorting the Japanese returned fire, killing a second attacker, the bomber's accomplice, he said.

More Images
EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - Pakistani investigators examine the body of an attacker at the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Several Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber targeted a van carrying Japanese nationals in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, police said. The Japanese nationals escaped unharmed but officials later said one bystander was killed.

Pakistani investigators take picture of the body of attacker at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators take picture of the body of attacker at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani police officer stands guard as investigators examine the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded some bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani police officer stands guard as investigators examine the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded some bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers examine a van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers examine a van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - A police officer stands guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - A police officer stands guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers examine a van at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers examine a van at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A police officer stands guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A police officer stands guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

“All the Japanese who were the target of the attack are safe,” Awan added.

Police had initially said the five worked at Pakistan Suzuki Motors but later corrected that statement, saying it was another factory.

Images on local news channels showed a damaged van as police officers arrived at the scene. The three passersby who were wounded in the attack were taken to the hospital, where one later died. The two others were said to be in stable condition.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif denounced the attack in separate statements, praised police for their quick response and vowed to eliminate terrorism. They also offered prayers for the casualties.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed the Japanese nationals were unhurt and said it “strongly condemns this heinous act of terrorism. All necessary measures will be taken to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

“Pakistan remains committed to ensuring the safety of foreign nationals residing in the country," the ministry said.

The ministry said two Pakistani nationals were killed in Friday's attack, which contradicted the statements from police and hospital officials who said one of the three wounded died. The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.

The van was given a police escort following reports of possible attacks targeting foreigners working in Pakistan on various Chinese-funded and other projects, said Tariq Mastoi, a senior police officer. He said a timely and quick response from the guards and police foiled the attack and both attackers were killed.

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but suspicion is likely to fall on separatists or the Pakistani Taliban, who have stepped up attacks on security forces in recent years.

Insurgents have also targeted Chinese working in Pakistan on projects relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which includes a multitude of megaprojects such as road construction, power plants and agriculture.

In March, five Chinese and their Pakistani driver were killed when a suicide bomber in northwestern Pakistan rammed his explosive-laden car into a vehicle when they were heading to the Dasu Dam, the biggest hydropower project in Pakistan, where they worked.

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, is the capital of southern Sindh province.

Separately, an Afghan Taliban religious scholar, Mohammad Omar Jan Akhundzada, was killed on Thursday by gunmen inside a mosque in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, a local police officer Akram Ullah said.

No one claimed responsibility for that attack.

Chief Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Friday denounced the killing of Akhundzada, saying he taught at a jihadi seminary in Afghanistan's Kandahar province and was a member of the Taliban oversight committee of Islamic scholars.

Many Afghan leaders and scholars lived in Quetta and elsewhere in Pakistan before the Afghan Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August 2021 as U.S. and NATO forces withdrew. Most then went back and it was unclear why Akhundzada was still in Pakistan.

Associated Press writer Abdul Sattar contributed to this story from Quetta, Pakistan.

EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - Pakistani investigators examine the body of an attacker at the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Several Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - Pakistani investigators examine the body of an attacker at the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Several Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators take picture of the body of attacker at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators take picture of the body of attacker at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani police officer stands guard as investigators examine the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded some bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani police officer stands guard as investigators examine the scene of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded some bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Pakistani investigators examine the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near a van carrying Japanese autoworkers, who narrowly escaped the attack Friday that wounded three bystanders in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers examine a van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers examine a van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - A police officer stands guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - A police officer stands guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

CORRECTS DATE - Pakistani investigators examine a damaged van at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 19, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers examine a van at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers examine a van at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Police officers stand guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A police officer stands guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A police officer stands guard at the site of suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, April 20, 2024. Five Japanese nationals traveling in a van narrowly escaped a suicide attack when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vest near their vehicle in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Friday, wounding three passers-by, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

France and Belgium released statements supporting the world’s top war crimes court’s request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas, after Israel and the United States both harshly condemned the effort.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel’s isolation over the war in Gaza.

Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, killing at least seven and wounding several, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The raid into Jenin is part of months of surging violence in the Palestinian territory.

Sri Lanka announced a national day of mourning Tuesday after Iranian officials announced that President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were found dead Monday, hours after their helicopter crashed in fog, leaving the Islamic Republic without two key leaders. Iran backs Hamas, and the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, also supported by Tehran, has fired rockets at Israel. In April, Iran launched its own an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel.

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

At least 35,000 Palestinians have died in the war, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians. Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians has been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.

Currently:

— Iran's president and foreign minister die in a helicopter crash.

— ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Netanyahu.

— These photos show Palestinians’ quick exodus from Rafah after Israel issued evacuation orders.

— Israeli forces kill at least seven Palestinians in a West Bank raid.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here's the latest:

JERUSALEM — Israeli forces raided a militant stronghold Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, killing at least seven and wounding several, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israeli military said it struck militants during an operation into the city. In addition to the seven fatalities, the Palestinian Health Ministry said nine people were injured. Among those killed was Dr. Ossayed Kamal Jabareen, the surgery specialist at Jenin Governmental Hospital who was killed on his way to his work, according to Dr. Wissam Abu Baker, the hospital’s director.

The raid was ongoing and the casualty numbers could rise.

The raid into Jenin is part of months of surging violence in the Palestinian territory. Nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of the war in Gaza, part of an Israeli crackdown on militancy in the territory. Attacks by Palestinians against Israelis have also increased.

Saraya al-Quds, the military arm of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, said its fighters battled Israeli forces raiding Jenin.

Israel has arrested more than 3,000 Palestinians since the start of the war.

France and Belgium each released statements supporting the world’s top war crimes court's request for arrest warrants for leaders of Israel and Hamas.

International Criminal Court top prosecutor Karim Khan accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders — Yehya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh — of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. While Netanyahu and Gallant do not face imminent arrest, the announcement Monday was a symbolic blow that deepened Israel’s isolation over the war in Gaza.

“France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations,” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Monday, around the same time Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib posted on X, “Crimes committed in Gaza must be prosecuted at the highest level, regardless of the perpetrators," along with a statement.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders condemned the move as disgraceful and antisemitic. United States President Joe Biden also lambasted the prosecutor and supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The Sri Lankan government declared Tuesday a national mourning day for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The government also ordered all state institutions to hoist the national flag at half-staff.

Raisi visited Sri Lanka in April to inaugurate a long-delayed hydropower and irrigation project. The project, valued at $514 million, was started in 2010. It was scheduled for completion in 2015 but was delayed by the sanctions, technical issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raisi was the first Iranian leader to visit Sri Lanka since then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited in 2008.

A man lays flowers near a photo of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his colleagues at a makeshift memorial at the Iranian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 20, 2024. Raisi, a hard-line protege of the country's supreme leader who helped oversee the mass executions of thousands in 1988 and later led the country as it enriched uranium near weapons-grade levels, launched a major attack on Israel and experienced mass protests, has died Sunday, May 19. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

A man lays flowers near a photo of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his colleagues at a makeshift memorial at the Iranian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 20, 2024. Raisi, a hard-line protege of the country's supreme leader who helped oversee the mass executions of thousands in 1988 and later led the country as it enriched uranium near weapons-grade levels, launched a major attack on Israel and experienced mass protests, has died Sunday, May 19. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Palestinians are waiting for aid trucks to cross in central Gaza Strip on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians are waiting for aid trucks to cross in central Gaza Strip on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group, outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem on Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group, outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem on Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a press briefing after his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with their actions during the seven-month war between Israel and Hamas. Haniyeh is one of the three Hamas leaders believed to be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a press briefing after his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with their actions during the seven-month war between Israel and Hamas. Haniyeh is one of the three Hamas leaders believed to be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pauses while making a brief statement to the media with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, not pictured, at The Kirya, Israel's Ministry of Defense, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Tel Aviv. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday, May 20, 2024, he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with their actions during the seven-month war between Israel and Hamas. Netanyahu, his defense minister Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, are believed to be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool, File)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pauses while making a brief statement to the media with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, not pictured, at The Kirya, Israel's Ministry of Defense, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Tel Aviv. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Monday, May 20, 2024, he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in connection with their actions during the seven-month war between Israel and Hamas. Netanyahu, his defense minister Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, are believed to be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool, File)

FILE - Exterior view of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said Monday, May 20, 2024, that he’s seeking arrest warrants for both Israeli and Hamas leaders in connection with their actions during the seven-month war. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

FILE - Exterior view of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said Monday, May 20, 2024, that he’s seeking arrest warrants for both Israeli and Hamas leaders in connection with their actions during the seven-month war. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

Recommended Articles