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Militants storm police academy, killing at least 59

By Agencies in Quetta, Pakistan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-26 06:56

Up to six gunmen head straight to dorms housing cadets and trainees and open fire

Militants wearing suicide vests stormed a Pakistani police academy in the southwestern city of Quetta overnight, killing at least 59 people, mostly police cadets and recruits, and waging a ferocious gunbattle with troops that lasted into early hours on Tuesday.

Pakistani officials feared the death toll could rise further, as the four-hour siege, one of the deadliest attacks on Pakistan's security forces in recent years, left 117 wounded, some of them in critical condition.

The assault caught many of the recruits asleep in their dorms and forced cadets and trainers to jump off rooftops and run for their lives to escape the attackers.

While most of the casualties were police cadets and others at the academy, some of the army personnel who responded to the assault were also among those killed, said Shahzada Farhat, police spokesman in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

Overlaping claims

By Tuesday morning, a little known breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Hakimullah group, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the assault. But Pakistani authorities, doubting the group's capabilities in staging such a coordinated and spectacular assault, also could not confirm the claim.

The Islamic State group on Tuesday also claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack was carried out by "Islamic State fighters", the group's Amaq news agency said.

The attack began at 11:30 pm on Monday, said Baluchistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti, with the militants shooting and killing a police guard at the watch tower before storming into the academy, located on the outskirts of Quetta.

There were disparate figures as to the number of attackers. Provincial police chief Ahsan Mahboob said four gunmen were involved in the assault while a military statement later said there were up to six attackers.

About 700 cadets, trainees, and instructors were inside the academy when it was attacked, Bugti said, adding that the gunbattle with the militants lasted for at least four hours.

Once inside the academy grounds, Pakistani media said the gunmen headed straight to the dorms housing the cadets and trainees and opened fire, shooting indiscriminately. Some of the cadets jumped off the rooftops and through windows to try to escape.

"They were rushing toward our building, firing," one cadet said. "We rushed for safety toward the roof and jumped down in the back of the building."

Another recruit, his face covered in blood, said the gunmen shot at whoever they saw. "I ran away, just praying God might save me," he said.

After the attack, Pakistani forces tightened security around the academy and Quetta hospitals were the wounded were taken. Footage aired on local television stations showed ambulances rushing out of the main entrance of the academy as fire engines struggled to put out fires set off by the explosions from the attackers' suicide vests.

"This war isn't over," said Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. "The enemy is weakened, but not eliminated."Timeline of nation's deadliest insurgent attacks

At least 59 people were killed and dozens more wounded when extremists wearing suicide vests stormed a Pakistani police academy near Quetta in Pakistan overnight.

Here is a list of major attacks by militant groups in the country since 2007:


Oct 18: Bomb attacks targeting former premier Benazir Bhutto kill 139 people in Karachi as she returns to Pakistan for the first time in eight years. Bhutto herself dies in a gun and suicide attack on Dec 27.


Aug 21: Twin suicide attacks kill 64 people outside Pakistan's main arms factory at Wah near Islamabad.


Oct 28: A car bomb rips apart a market in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing 125 people.


Jan 1: A suicide car bomb kills 101 people at a village volleyball game in the northwestern district of Bannu.

July 9: A suicide bomber kills at least 105 people in a busy market in the northwestern tribal district of Mohmand.


May 13: Two suicide bombers kill at least 98 people outside a police training center in Charsadda.


Jan 10: A double suicide attack on a snooker club kills 92 in a district of Quetta populated by Shiite Hazaras.

Feb 16: A bomb at a market at Hazara Town, a Shiite neighborhood near Quetta, kills 89.


December 16: Taliban insurgents storm an army-run school in Peshawar, killing 154 people, most of them children.


Jan 30: Sixty-one people are killed as a suicide bomber hits a Shiite mosque in Shikarpur in southern Pakistan.


March 27: Seventy-five people are killed and hundreds injured in an explosion near a park in Lahore.

August 8: At least 73 people die and dozens are wounded when a blast tears through mourners at a hospital in Quetta.

 Militants storm police academy, killing at least 59

Volunteers and police officers rush an injured man to a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, on Tuesday, after militants wearing suicide vests stormed a police academy. Arshad Butt / Associated Press

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