Officials: Militants raid Pakistan police station

June 25, 2011 - 10:30 AM
Pakistan

Pakistani police officer gather at the site of an explosion outside the office of International Committee of the Red Cross in Karachi, Pakistan on Saturday, June 25, 2011. A planted bomb partially exploded as it was being defused next to a Red Cross office in Pakistan's south, but no one was hurt, police said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — Militants armed with guns and grenades attacked a police station in northwest Pakistan, killing at least four police officers in a battle that still raged Saturday evening, intelligence and police officials said.

A series of recent attacks have involved armed insurgents targeting security forces, showing how the militants remain able to strike in Pakistan's northwestern tribal regions despite army offensives against them.

Police official Salahuddin Khan said the militants targeted the station in Kolachi, in Dera Ismail Khan district, just outside Pakistan's Taliban-riddled tribal belt.

TV footage showed black-clad security squads armed with rifles scrambling into positions around the station, amid reports some of the militants were on the roof of the facility.

"We can only hear exchanges of fire," Khan said. "We don't know what is going on inside."

Around seven attackers were involved, and they killed at least four police officers, according to two local intelligence officials. They spoke on conditon of anonymity because their agency prohibits them from talking to media on the record.

Earlier in the day, 15 insurgents were killed in the northwest tribal region of Orakzai during a gunbattle between two factions of the Pakistani Taliban. Government official Mir Alam said several insurgents also were wounded in the clashes in Orakzai, while lies near the Afghan border.

Such clashes are common in Orakzai, where an unspecified number of insurgents and their commanders have been battling an army offensive.

Meanwhile in the south, a small bomb partially exploded outside a Red Cross office in the city Karachi. No one was hurt.

Karachi is Pakistan's largest city, with a population of 18 million, and it has a history of ethnic, sectarian and political violence. Such small bombings are relatively common in the city and have hit a variety of targets.

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Associated Press writers Ashraf Khan in Karachi, Hussain Afzal in Parachinar and Riaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.