A group of militants armed with automatic weapons and bombs assaulted the police headquarters on Friday evening in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, triggering an hourslong fierce gunfight with security forces and leaving at least four people dead.
The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, known as the Pakistani Taliban, took responsibility for the attack, saying it was a “suicide mission” and promising to share more details soon.
A provincial government spokesman said three police force members and one paramilitary soldier were among those killed. Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui said on Twitter that 19 people were injured and described the condition of one of them as critical.
Police officials said between eight and 10 assailants traveling in a motor vehicle threw hand grenades at the main gate before storming the multistory police facility. The ensuing clashes killed three assailants, ending the siege, said Siddiqui, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party. The fate of the rest of the militants was not known immediately, however.
There were suicide bombers among the attackers, with at least one of them blowing himself up during the clashes, security sources said.
Senior city police official Irfan Baloch told reporters that police and paramilitary soldiers had jointly responded to the attack and had gone floor to floor through the building in pursuit of the assailants.
Friday’s raid in Karachi came more than two weeks after a powerful bomb ripped through a packed mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The blast killed nearly 100 people, mostly police officers, and wounded many more.
The Pakistani Taliban denied their involvement in the mosque bombing, although a faction of the group reportedly claimed responsibility.
The TTP, designated as a global terrorist group by the United States, has carried out almost daily bomb and gun attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks, killing and injuring hundreds of people — most of them security forces.
The Pakistani Taliban is an offshoot and a close ally of neighboring Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban. Pakistan alleges fugitive TTP leaders and commanders are orchestrating terrorist attacks from their bases on the Afghan side of the border.
The Taliban rulers in Kabul reject Islamabad’s allegations, saying they are not allowing any group, including TTP, to use Afghan soil for cross-border attacks.