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IS storms Pakistan police academy, 60 killed

ISLAMABAD: At least 60 people were killed and over 150 injured after three heavily armed suicide attackers stormed a police training academy in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday. The attack at New Saryab Police Training College, which houses 700 cadets and training staff members, began at 11.30pm on Monday and continued for almost five hours. Most of the victims were fresh recruits. Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, Balochistan home minister, said the terrorists entered the academy after gunning down the watch tower sentry . Then they rushed towards the dormitory where the cadets were sleeping, he said. “Two suicide attackers blew themselves up, which resulted in casualties, while the third one was shot by troops,” Bugti said. “The militants barged in to our barrack and started firing.We started screaming and running around inside the barrack,” one cadet said.Emergency was declared in all hospitals of Quetta. Officials said that most of the injured had broken arms and legs, having jumped from the windows of the dormitory where the attackers attempted to take them hostage. The injured cadets said that they were not armed, otherwise they would have fought the terrorists. “Terrorists were roaming in front of us but we were helpless,” said an injured recruit. Separately , Tehreek-e-Taliban Karachi, a hitherto unknown terrorist outfit, claimed that it sent four suicide bombers to carry out the attack.The message said the assault was to avenge the alleged killing of the outfit’s men in police custody and also threatened of more attacks. Mohammad Khorasani, the spokesperson for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, however, said the group has not received any information from its terrorists regarding the attack. Before these claims, Major General Sher Afgan, Inspector General of Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force, said communication intercepts showed the al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi carried out the attack. “The attackers had been in contact with their handlers in Afghanistan,” Afgan said. LeJ, whose roots are in Pakistan’s Punjab province, has ahistory of carrying out sectarian attacks in Balochistan, particularly against the minority Hazara Shias. Since the killing of Malik Ishaq, chief of the banned sectarian outfit, his two sons Usman and Haq Nawaz and 11 other terrorists in a police encounter last year, LeJ had declared a full-fledged war against Pakistan. Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, the province’s CM, said that they had received intelligence reports three to four days back that terrorists and suicide bombers planned to target Quetta. “Security was already on high alert, and maybe that is why they targeted the police training centre on the outskirts of the city,” Zehri said.However, the same facility was attacked twice before – in 2006 and in 2008. Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that justice had become a mere slogan for Pakistan, adding that people were sick and tired of picking up bodies of their loved ones. “The overall security situation of the country has improved and terrorism-related incidents have decreased, but a single incident like the one in Quetta wiped off months of hard work agencies have put in to maintain peace,” Nisar said. For long, Quetta remained a base of the Afghan Taliban, where the “Quetta Shura” (council of senior Taliban leadership) held its meetings. The province is also experiencing a homegrown insurgency with separatist fighters launching regular attacks on security forces.

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