Militants launched a deadly suicide attack on the police headquarters of Pakistans largest city on Friday, officials said, as the sound of gunfire and explosions rocked the heart of Karachi for several hours.
Three security forces and a civilian were killed and 18 security forces wounded, according to government officials and Ghulam Nabi Memon, police chief for the southern Sindh province where Karachi is located. Two suicide bombers were killed and at least one blew himself up after entering the police building, officials added.
Pakistani Taliban in a brief statement claimed responsibility.
Murtaza Wahab, a government adviser, confirmed that police and paramilitary forces in a joint operation had cleared the police building within three hours of the attack late Friday.
I confirm that the operation against the terrorists is over, said Wahab.
President Arif Alvi in a statement condemned the attack in Karachi, which is Pakistans chief commercial city, while Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid tribute to security forces for the successful operation.
Earlier, TV footage showed officers surrounding the citys central police station as residents reported the sound of explosions and gunfire. Pakistans Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said some of the militants threw hand grenades as they tried to force their way into the police headquarters.
Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks since November when Pakistani Taliban ended a monthslong cease-fire with the government. Pakistans outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban is a separate group but are allies of the Taliban in Afghanistan, who seized power there more than a year ago as U.S. and NATO troops withdrew. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened Pakistani militants, whose top leaders and fighters are hiding across the border.
The brazen assault on Karachis police headquarters comes two weeks after a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman killed 101 people at a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Authorities blamed the TTP for orchestrating last months mosque bombing and Sarbakaf Mohmand, a TTP commander, claimed responsibility for it.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)