Pakistan Police Station Assault Kills 10 Officers
Authorities in northwestern Pakistan said Monday that a pre-dawn militant raid had killed at least 10 police officers and injured six others ahead of national elections later this week.
The attack occurred in the militancy-hit Dera Ismail Khan, where officials reported that a group of heavily armed assailants stormed a police station, using sniper guns and grenades and spraying security forces with bullets before fleeing.
Area police said that a “large-scale search operation” was currently underway with the help of Pakistani troops to hunt down the attackers. All roads leading in and out of the district have been blocked.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the carnage, but suspicions fell on Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, an outlawed group that routinely stages attacks on security forces in the district located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
Last December, militants, including suicide bombers, assaulted an army base in Dera Ismail Khan, killing 23 soldiers and wounding several more in one of the deadliest attacks on the military in Pakistan’s recent history.
That raid was claimed by the newly emerged militant group known as Tehrik-e-Jihad Pakistan, or TJP, reportedly an offshoot of TTP.
Both groups operate from Afghan territory “possibly with support from al-Qaida,” according to a United Nations report released last week.
An uptick in militant violence has fueled security concerns for voters and organizers of parliamentary elections Pakistan is scheduled to hold Thursday. Several political workers, including election candidates, have been killed in gun attacks and militant bombings in the lead-up to the vote.
Last week, separatist insurgents carried out coordinated attacks against security forces’ installations in southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan.
The raid in the town of Mach killed four security forces and two civilians. The Pakistani military said that its three-day retaliatory operations and search missions had killed 24 assailants.
The banned Baluch Liberation Army, or BLA, took responsibility for the attacks. The group confirmed the deaths of its 13 fighters and claimed they had inflicted heavy casualties on security forces.
TTP and BLA are both listed by the United States as global terrorist organizations.
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