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Ambush kills peacekeepers in Darfur

| Saturday, July 13, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

CAIRO — Gunmen ambushed a United Nations peacekeeping team Saturday in Sudan's western region of Darfur, killing seven Tanzanians and wounding another 17 people in the deadliest single attack on the international force in the country, U.N. officials said.

The assault by a large group of gunmen included sustained heavy fire from machine guns and possibly rocket-propelled grenades, targeting the force some 15 miles west of the town of Khor Abeche, U.N. forces spokesman Chris Cycmanick said. Reinforcements later arrived to rescue the wounded, who included two female police advisers, the force said in a statement.

A statement late Saturday on behalf of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon identified the dead as all being from Tanzania. About 40 countries have contributed military personnel or police to the peacekeeping force.

The statement said it was the third attack on U.N. forces in the region in the last three weeks.

Officials with the Sudanese government could not be immediately reached for comment.

Peacekeepers have been targeted by assailants in the past in the region since the international force began its work there in 2008. Before Saturday's attack, 150 people associated with the U.N. mission had been killed while on duty in the region, according to the force's website.

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