ISLAMABAD � Authorities in Pakistan say nearly 60 people were killed and more than 120 wounded when several heavily armed suicide bombers stormed a police training center in the southwestern city of Quetta.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by its Amaq news agency. Pakistani authorities have not commented on the claim.
The assault began just before midnight on Monday, with assailants entering the hostel for recruits inside the complex and spraying occupants with bullets.
They quickly seized a number of hostages before Pakistani troops and commando units surrounded and entered the facility to confront the gunmen.
The battle to clear the complex lasted several hours. Two attackers blew themselves up while a third was gunned down in the exchange of fire with security forces, ending the siege just before dawn on Tuesday, said a provincial official.
They (the victims) were all unarmed trainees who are normally at that time of the night either retiring to their bed or engage with their smart phones or other phones in their private leisure time. So, they took them by surprise, provincial government spokesman Anwar-ul Haq Kakar told VOA.
Some of the police and others inside the building escaped by jumping out windows. They told reporters the gunmen were wearing masks and started shooting as soon as they got inside.
Kakar said authorities have yet to determine the number of attackers . He added that he saw the body of one of them and a preliminary probe concluded the assailants were Uzbek militants.
The spokesman alleged that Afghan and intelligence operatives from rival India jointly facilitated the deadly assault like some previous terrorist acts hitting his province.
We are quite clear about this that they were being handled by Afghanistan and they were Afghan nationals as far as initial assessment is concerned,Kakar asserted.
Authorities in Afghanistan and India have not yet commented on the allegations.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned what he called a "cowardly" attack.
The United States has also condemned the terrorist attack in the capital of Baluchistan province.
We stand with the people of Pakistan and Government of Pakistan at this difficult hour, and we will continue to work with our partners in Pakistan and across the region to combat the threat of terrorism, said State Department spokesman John Kirby in Washington.
For its part, the Afghan government accuses the Pakistani spy agency of covertly supporting the Taliban and its ally, the Haqqani Network that have staged similar attacks on its side of the border.
U.S. Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson this week again acknowledged the nearly 2,600-kilometer long frontier posed challenges to both the countries.
It's still a very pours border region and we do see insurgents moving both ways across the border, some from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then of course the Haqqanis and the Taliban moving from Pakistan into Afghanistan, the general told NBC.
He said there is a need for Afghans to increase the number of border posts on their side and both the neighboring countries also need to increase their coordination procedures.
The Pakistani province, particularly Quetta, has lately seen a spike in militant attacks. A suicide blast in early August just outside a hospital in the city killed more than 70 people.
Source: Voice Of America