Loralai, Balochistan province, Pakistan
Loralai, Balochistan province, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - Authorities in Pakistan say a suicide militant raid against a police facility Tuesday in southwestern Balochistan province killed at least nine people and injured 21 others.

A military statement said three bombers carrying guns assaulted the Deputy Inspector General Police office compound in Loralai at a time when about 800 candidates were present inside for enrollment in the provincial police.

One of the assailants blew himself up at the main gate, enabling the other two attackers to storm the crowded complex and take positions in one of the rooms before Pakistani security forces engaged them in a firefight.

“During the clearance operation remaining two suicide bombers have been shot dead and [the] area has been cleared,” the army said. It added that the rest of the candidates were safely evacuated during the operation. The victims were airlifted to Quetta, the provincial capital, about 200 kilometers north of the site of the attack.

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The outlawed extremist Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for staging the deadly raid. This was the second attack this month against a security installation in Balochistan claimed by the militant outfit.

On January 1, three gunmen, including a suicide bomber, raided a military installation in another district and killed four security forces.

The violence-hit largest Pakistani province, which shares a border with Afghanistan and Iran, has seen a rise in militant attacks in recent months.

Balochistan is home to several under-construction China-funded infrastructure projects, and it is a natural resource-rich region. But a low-level Baluch insurgency and the presence of militant groups, including loyalists of Islamic State, pose security challenges for Pakistani authorities.