By Yusuf Hatip
ISLAMABAD (AA): At least 59 cadets and guards were killed and 120 wounded Monday when gunmen attacked a police training center in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, authorities said.
At least six heavily armed terrorists, wearing suicide vests, attacked the dorms at the police training college in the city of Quetta after they infiltrated the complex, where more than 200 cadets were housed, according to a statement by police.
Police said three attackers were killed in the operation, two of whom blew themselves up, and the surviving cadets were rescued by the Pakistani special operations commandos.
The cadets were reportedly taken held hostage after security forces began operations to neutralize the attackers.
The attack on the Balochistan Police College, around 20 kilometres east of Quetta, began at around 11:10pm Monday, with gunfire continuing to ring out at the site for several hours.
Major General Sher Afgan, chief of the paramilitary FC in Balochistan, which led the counter-operation, said “the attack was over in around three hours after we arrived”.
“The operation needed to be conducted with precision therefore it took us four hours to clear the area completely.”
Communication intercepts showed the attack was carried out by Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, IG Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Sher Afgan said.
Separatist militias in the Balochistan province have carried out deadly terror attacks on security forces and civilians since 2004.
This August at least 70 people were killed and 103 injured by a suicide attack at a hospital in Quetta.
No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, though similar attacks have frequently been claimed by the Taliban.
Additional reporting by The Muslim News
[Photo: Police cadets who were injured during clashes with suspected militants in an attack at a Police training centre, receive medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, 24 October 2016. Photographer: Muhabiri Mazhar Chandio/AA]