Top Marine targeted in vehicle runway crash

LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press Published:

ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) -- Defense officials say that the top U.S. commander in Helmand Province and his British deputy were among the U.S. Marines that an Afghan man tried to run down as they waited for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to arrive in southern Afghanistan.

Officials say the incident Wednesday appears to be more serious than has been previously disclosed.

A senior defense official also says three Afghans, including the alleged attacker's father and brother, were detained. It's not clear if they were still in custody Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus and the other Marines were waiting to greet Panetta when an Afghan contractor hijacked an SUV and tried to run them down. The attacker crashed the truck and later died.

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