PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle at a police station’s main gate in northwest Pakistan early Tuesday, killing at least six officers and wounding 25 others, officials said. Part of the building collapsed upon impact, local police officer Kamal Khan said.
Some militants also opened fire and a shootout ensued for hours between them and security forces before three attackers were gunned down, he said. Several officers were transferred to hospital in critical condition.
The attack happened in Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, Khan said. The province is a former stronghold of the militant Pakistani Taliban group, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP.
The newly formed militant group Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, or TJP — believed to be an offshoot of the TTP — claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it targeted officers who were at the police station.
A larger number of security forces from across the country have had a constant presence at the Daraban police station where they were conducting intelligence-based operations against militants in the area with help from local police, said Khan
There was no immediate comment from the military or government.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has witnessed a rise in violence with several deadly attacks. In January, at least 101 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Peshawar.
The Pakistani Taliban have stepped up attacks on security forces since 2022. Authorities say the insurgents have become emboldened while living openly in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of that country in 2021.
The TTP, though a separate group, is closely allied with the Afghan Taliban.
Dera Ismail Khan is located near South Waziristan, a former sanctuary for militants. Pakistan’s army carried out multiple operations against militants there after some attacked an army-run school, killing more than 150 people, mostly school children, in 2014.
Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud contributed to this story from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.
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