China, Pakistan investigate IS claim 2 Chinese were killed

AP News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2017 4:59 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China and Pakistan said Friday they were investigating the Islamic State group's claim that two Chinese teachers abducted in Pakistan have been killed, after a video appearing to show the pair was sent to journalists.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told the official Xinhua News Agency Friday that the government was seeking information from Pakistani authorities. In Islamabad, two Pakistani security officials said they were investigating but that no bodies have been found.

Earlier Friday, a 24-second video appearing to show the bloodied bodies of a Chinese man and woman was sent to the phones of journalists working in Baluchistan, apparently by the Islamic State group. Pakistani officials speaking on routine condition of anonymity said they were aware of the video but the bodies had not been found or their identities verified.

The IS claim came hours after Pakistan's military released the pictures of what it said were 12 slain members of the militant group. They were killed in this week's operation in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, where the military said it foiled an attempt to set up an organized IS militant base.

"We have taken note of relevant reports and we express our grave concern. We have been trying to rescue the two kidnapped hostages over the past days," Hua was quoted as saying.

The two teachers at a private language school were kidnapped May 24 by gunmen dressed as police who stopped their car in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan. A bystander who attempted to intervene was shot and wounded while rescuing a third person.

A statement late Thursday from the IS news agency said the two Chinese teachers had been killed.

Thousands of Chinese work in Pakistan and have sometimes been targeted by militants. China is a longtime ally of Pakistan and is building roads and power plants under multibillion-dollar project termed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Islamic militants opposed to Chinese rule in the northwestern region of Xinjiang are also believed to be sheltering in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, from which they have threatened to launch attacks.

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Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.