PESHAWAR - Unidentified gunmen shot dead a health officer supervising an anti-polio vaccination campaign and wounded another after storming a hospital on the outskirts of Peshawar on Saturday, officials said.

According to the station house officer for Mattni Police Station, Fazal Wahid, the attackers stormed the immunisation center established at the Mattni Civil Hospital, and gunned down medical technician, Zahir Gul, and wounded a watchman Neqab Gul, who was shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital for treatment.

The SHO said the attack was not carried out against the polio workers, but the immunisation center, where anti-polio vaccines were being administered to children.

AFP adds: Gunmen shot dead a health officer supervising an anti-polio vaccination campaign after storming a hospital where children were being immunised in Pakistan’s troubled northwest Saturday, officials said.

Two other hospital staff were injured in the attack at a government-run hospital in the town of Mattani, on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the killing, but Taliban militants have been targeting health workers and security personnel during vaccination campaigns.

“Two men riding a motorbike stormed the office of an immunisation officer located inside the premises of Civil Hospital Mattani and shot him dead,” senior police official Ijaz Khan told AFP.

“Two other local staff of the hospital including a woman were injured in the attack,” he added.

Khan said the gunmen fled on the motorbike soon after the shooting.

Provincial health minister of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Shaukat Ali, confirmed the attack.

“Routine immunisation of children was going on in the hospital at the time of the attack,” he said.

The Taliban imposed a ban on polio vaccinations last year as they view inoculation campaigns as a cover for espionage.

But prominent religious scholar, Maulana Samiul Haq, known as the “father of the Taliban”, has urged parents to immunise their children against polio and other life-threatening diseases, saying that vaccinations were compliant with Sharia.

Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio remains endemic and efforts to stamp it out have been badly affected by attacks on health workers inoculating children. Polio is also endemic in Afghanistan and Nigeria.

According to the World Health Organization, Pakistan recorded 72 cases of polio this year compared with 58 in 2012.

New Delhi last week announced it would require citizens from Pakistan and other polio-affected nations travelling to India to take a mandatory vaccination for the disease at least six weeks prior to their departure.