61 killed, at least 165 injured as militants storm police training centre in Quetta

QUETTA: 

At least 61 security personnel were killed, and 165 others were injured as terrorists stormed a police training centre near Quetta late Monday night.

Three terrorists entered the New Sariab Police Training College, some 13 kilometres away from Quetta city. They headed straight for the hostel where police recruits were sleeping.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti told reporters assembled at the site early Tuesday that the sprawling compound had been attacked by three militants equipped with suicide jackets, revising down an earlier estimate of “five to six” assailants.

“They first targeted the watch tower sentry, and after exchanging fire killed him and were able to enter the academy grounds,” he said. “At least 20 were killed but this figure isn’t final – we’ll confirm it in the morning,” he said.

He added, “Frontier Corps’ Quick Responce Force (QRF) wing responded along with Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) and [Pakistan Army’s] Light Commando Battallion…one terrorist was killed while two of them exploded”.

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif attended on Tuesday a high-level meeting on security at the Governor House in Quetta.

Having neutralised one suicide bomber, the two cornered the second bomber, helping large number of police recruits escape till the attacker exploded himself. Captain Roohallah has been awarded Tamgha-e-Jurat, while Naib Subedar Ali Tamgha-e-Basalat.

TTP Hakimullah group claims responsibility

A hitherto unheard of group calling itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Karachi made a claim of responsibility at 10:20am, sending an email to journalists saying four suicide attackers had carried out the attack.

The message said the assault was to avenge the alleged killing of its men in police custody and threatened more attacks to come.

However, the spokesperson for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Mohammad Khorasani, said the group has not received any information from its militants regarding the attack.

The Hakimullah group says four of its militants took part in the attack. The group occasionally claims responsibility for attacks; but there are serious doubts about the ability of the group to carry out major attacks. Its members are based in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province which borders Pakistan.

Islamic State claims attack

Militant group Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack, which was carried out by “Islamic State fighters”, the group’sAmaq news agency said.

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In August, Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on a gathering of mourners at a hospital in Quetta that killed 70 people. But that attack was also claimed by Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar.

Terrorists belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

Major Gen Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Balochistan, which led the counter-operation, said “the attack was over in around three hours after we arrived.”

He added that the militants belonged to the Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group – which is affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban. “They were in communication with operatives in Afghanistan,” he said.