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Envoys From Norway, Philippines Die In Helicopter Crash In Pakistan

Two diplomatic envoys were killed in Pakistan on Friday after the helicopter they were on crashed in the country's northern area.

Reuters reports:

"As well as Norwegian Ambassador Leif Larsen, Philippine Ambassador Domingo Lucenario and the wives of the ambassadors of Malaysia, the two pilots and a crew member were killed, military spokesman Asim Bajwa said in Twitter posts.

"He said initial information indicated the cause was a technical fault.

"The Pakistani Taliban claimed they shot down the aircraft but witnesses on the ground, and in three other helicopters on the trip, reported nothing to indicate any firing."

The Washington Post adds:

"The area is generally considered to be one of the safest areas of Pakistan and terrorists attacks are rare.

"Muhammad Khurasani, a Pakistan Taliban spokesman, said the group was targeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif."

Sharif was traveling in a separate aircraft, but it returned to Islamabad right after the incident.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.