Guard foils attack on Pakistan school

An apparent militants tried to attack on the foreign principal of a school in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, but the murder was prevented by guard.

The guard told investigators that five or six armed men broke into the Muslim Public School in Bannu in the early hours of Monday morning, said Meharullah Khan, a police officer in the town.

The men, who "looked like Taliban," demanded to know where they could find the principal of the school, and opened fire when he refused, Khan quoted the guard as saying.

The guard was injured, as was one of the gunmen, Khan said. The four other attackers fled.

Khan identified the principal as an Irishman who had headed the school for more than a decade. However, other media reports said the principal was a New Zealand national.

The wounded attacker died at the scene, while the guard was recovering in a hospital.

Khan said it was unclear if the attackers were planning to kill or abduct the principal and that the investigation was continuing.

Bannu lies in a swath of territory in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province where pro-Taliban militants are asserting ever-greater control.

In March, gunmen kidnapped and held for several days the principal of a school in Tank where police had earlier prevented militants from recruiting students.