59 killed, hundreds injured as terrorists attack police academy in Quetta, Pakistan
In one of the deadliest strikes in the country this year, at least 59 police recruits were killed and 117 injured as gunmen stormed a Pakistani police training academy in Balochistan’s capital Quetta, media reports said.
Talking to the media, Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said that the operation against the terrorists has been completed by security forces who fought valiantly against the terrorists, Geo TV reported.
Bugti said that nearly 700 police recruits were present at the time of the attack, adding that the injured people, mostly police cadets and security personnel, had been shifted to the Civil hospital, Bolan Medical College hospital and Military hospital in Quetta.
“The condition of some is critical,” he said.
He said there was a Frontier Corps official and captain among the injured. The policeman guarding the only entry point of the college was among those gunned down.
“There were three terrorists and all of them were wearing suicide vests,” Dawn news quoted Major General Sher Afgan.
“Two suicide attackers blew themselves up, which resulted in casualties, while the third one was shot dead by our troops,” he added.
While no group claimed responsibility for the attack, the Major General told media that calls intercepted between the attackers and their handlers suggested they were from the terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, whose roots are in Punjab, has a history of carrying out attacks in Balochistan, particularly against the minority Hazara Shias. However, it was unclear why the group chose to attack the police academy, a home ministry official said.
The attack began around 9:30 p.m. on Monday, as two attackers reportedly entered the complex through the front gate after shooting the guard, while others climbed the rear wall of the training centre.
Police, military and paramilitary personnel arrived at the training centre within 20 minutes of the attack and launched an operation which lasted around five hours, the home ministry said.
The attack comes a day after separatist gunmen on a motorcycle, affiliated with the Baloch Liberation Army, shot dead two coast guards and a civilian in coastal town of Jiwani near the Gwadar port in the same province.
In August, a suicide bombing at the Civil hospital in Quetta killed 73 people, most of them lawyers. A splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and IS claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack.