QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least nine people died and 21 were wounded when gunmen blasted their way into a police station in southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday while candidates were sitting for a police entrance exam, officials said.
The Pakistani military said a group of three gunmen attacked the entrance of the deputy police inspector’s office in Loralai district in Balochistan, a volatile southern province which has seen a string of militant attacks.
One gunman blew himself up and the others opened fire on police and around 800 candidates taking an exam to join the force, killing three police, five civilian employees and one candidate. Twenty one people including 12 police and nine candidates were wounded.
Soldiers from the army and the Frontier Corps were called in to evacuate the building and clear the gunmen.
“During the clearance operation, the remaining two suicide bombers have been shot dead and the area has been cleared,” a statement from the military said.
The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan or TTP and which is separate from the Afghan Taliban, claimed responsibility.
Militant violence in Pakistan has fallen sharply from levels a decade ago, but incidents still occur periodically in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and poorest province which is at the centre of the strategic China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure development project.
At least four members of the security forces were killed this month in an attack on a Frontier Corps training base in Loralai.
Reporting by Gul Yousufzai; editing by Darren Schuettler and Ed Osmond