Militants kill 10 officers in Pakistan police station attack

A brutal attack by more than 30 militants on a police station in Pakistan left at least 10 officers dead and four wounded on Monday, amid a wave of violence ahead of the national election on Thursday.

A police station in Pakistan was attacked by more than 30 militants for over two hours on Monday, resulting in the death of at least 10 officers.

The provincial police chief of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the attack took place, said four more officers were wounded in the fierce fight that started with sniper fire and grenades around 03:00 local time Monday (22:00 GMT Sunday).

He added that the attackers came from three sides and briefly seized the police station.

The identity and motive of the assailants are unknown, as well as their possible connection to the upcoming election on Thursday.

The attack is part of a surge of violence in recent weeks, which also saw a National Assembly candidate killed in another area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last Wednesday.

The province has been a frequent target of the Pakistan Taliban, Islamic State and other militant groups, who have carried out attacks on government, security and civilian targets for years.

According to a research center in Islamabad, the country witnessed an increase in violent incidents for the third consecutive year in 2023, with the highest number of deaths – involving security forces, militants and civilians – since 2017.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded the most attacks and counter-terrorism operations, with 458 incidents and nearly 1,000 fatalities.

A senior government official told AFP that the southern region of the province was under a “severe threat”, as militants were starting “to mingle with civilian populations in urban areas, making it hard to launch operations against them”.

In Balochistan, another province with high levels of violence, a political leader was shot dead in his party’s election office and a bomb blast after a political rally killed at least four people last week. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The military also killed 24 militants in an anti-terror operation in Balochistan last week.

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