Burqa-clad rebels kill 7 police in Pakistan siege

Militants in suicide vests laid siege to a police station in northwest Pakistan.

Peshawar: At least seven policemen were killed on Saturday when militants in suicide vests, some of them clad in burqas, laid siege to a police station in northwest Pakistan, police said.

Up to eight militants attacked Kolachi police station near the border with South Waziristan tribal district, using guns and hand grenades to take a group of policemen hostage in an attack that also left five militants dead and seven more police wounded.

"Seven of our policemen were martyred in the attack," regional police chief Imtiaz Shah said.

Shah said the siege began when attackers dressed in women`s burqas took out guns at the station`s main gate and killed policemen deployed there.

The militants then damaged the boundary wall with hand grenades, enabling more rebels to follow them into the building.

About 17 policemen were on duty at the time and were taken hostage by the militants once they ran out of ammunition, the police chief said.

As security forces were called to the scene and cordoned off the police station, two of the attackers detonated their suicide vests, while three others were shot dead by security forces, Shah said.

"About two to three attackers are left now, and security forces are trading fire with them as they have left the police station building," Shah said.

Earlier, district police chief Mohammad Hussain Khan said that seven policemen were also wounded in the attack.

Khan said that since the police station was close to the lawless tribal belt, it was likely that the attackers had come from there.

A security official confirmed the attack and casualties.

Television footage showed thick black smoke billowing from the roof of the fortress-like police station and security forces and police firing at militants.

Nearly 4,500 people have been killed across Pakistan in attacks blamed on Taliban and other Islamist extremist networks based in the tribal belt since government troops stormed a radical mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

Bureau Report

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