Three burqa-clad militants were gunned down on Sunday when bodyguards of a mayor foiled an attempt by a group of assailants to kill him in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar.

Union Council Nazim (mayor) Muhammad Fahimuddin was meeting people at Badabher on the outskirts of Peshawar this morning when he was informed by his supporters that three suspicious-looking persons in burqas were approaching his ’hujra’ or guesthouse.

Fahimuddin alerted his bodyguards, who gunned down the three attackers when they opened fire at the guesthouse. He said assault rifles and grenades had been found on the burqa-clad attackers.

He said he believed Mangal Bagh Afridi, the head of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam group based in Khyber tribal region, was behind the attack.

Police officials said more militants were involved in the attack but fled when Fahimuddin’s guards opened fire.

Police and the mayor’s armed supporters cordoned off the area after the incident.

Fahimuddin told reporters that he and his supporters had been attacked and targeted with bombs on at least four previous occasions.

Peshawar has witnessed a wave of deadly suicide attacks and bombings since the army mobilised troops for an operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan last month.

A dozen people were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up near a police check post on the outskirts of Peshawar on Saturday.

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