10 killed in militant attack on Pakistan police station
Dozens of militants waged an hours-long gun attack on a police station in northern Pakistan early Monday, killing at least 10 officers, a senior commander said.
The assault comes just days before Pakistan votes in a general election that has already seen dozens of attacks on candidates and party supporters.
“More than 30 terrorists launched an attack from three directions,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial police chief Akhtar Hayat Gandapur told AFP.
“There was an exchange of fire for over two-and-a-half hours.”
He said 10 officers were killed and four wounded in the assault on Chaudhwan police station in Dera Ismail Khan district in the early hours of Monday.
The border regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have for years seen Pakistan Taliban, Islamic State and other groups attacking government and security targets, as well as targeting civilians.
Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar “vehemently denounced” the attack.
“The entire nation stands with the police and security forces and salutes the martyrs,” he said in a statement.
A senior government official told AFP there was a “severe threat” in southern areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Monday’s assault took place.
“Terrorists have now begun to blend in with civilian populations in urban areas, making it difficult to conduct operations against them,” the official said, asking not to be identified.
At least 24 militants were killed last week when ethnic Baluch separatists launched raids on a government compound in a remote part of Pakistan’s southwest, the military said.
Four security personnel and two civilians were also killed during the attack and subsequent search operations.
The Baluch Liberation Army (BLA), a banned separatist group, claimed responsibility for that attack in a statement on social media.
Pakistan’s election commission said last week that polls would go ahead as planned on Thursday after it held an urgent meeting with security officials following a spate of violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces.
Thousands of security personnel will be deployed across the country to provide safety to voters.