Eight, including four militants killed in Pak attack

Eight persons, including four militants and one policeman, were killed when a group of heavily armed Taliban fighters stormed a district police chief's office in northwest Pakistan today, triggering a two-hour standoff with security forces.

Three attackers detonated their suicide vests inside the police compound at Dera Ismail Khan while one more was shot dead by security forces, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police chief Akbar Hoti said.

A policeman and three civilians who were inside the police compound died during the attack and subsequent exchange of fire between the militants and security forces.

Seven policemen and two passersby were injured, officials said.
There was confusion about the casualties as security forces took several hours to complete a search operation after ending the terrorist siege.

Police officials initially said between five and eight militants were involved in the suicide assault but later contended that the attack was carried out by four.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Taliban recently killed 15 paramilitary troopers they had abducted in the country’s northwest and pledged to carry out attacks to take revenge for operations by security forces.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said the attackers were wearing police uniforms.

He said district police chief Khalid Sohail escaped unhurt and was taken out of the compound by security forces.

Hussain said the attack was carried out in reaction to the police's successes against militants in the province.

Militants were targeting police installations in a bid to demoralize the force, he said.

The militants used ladders to clamber over a wall at the back of the police compound.
They then lobbed several grenades and fired indiscriminately with automatic weapons.
Reporters at the site said they had heard at least seven to eight explosions and intermittent firing.
The district police chief's office is located in a high-security zone near a court complex and lawyers' offices.

Security forces cordoned off and evacuated the area.
Army troops were called in to help police commandos flush out the militants.
Footage on television showed soldiers taking position on roofs of houses near the police compound and firing at the militants.

Smoke could be seen rising from the compound.
The body of the attacker shot dead by the troops could be seen hanging over the side of a building.

Police officials said he was wearing a suicide vest with about eight kilograms of explosives.
A bomb disposal squad was called in defuse the suicide vest.
Provincial police chief Hoti said the attackers were armed with automatic weapons, rocket launchers and grenades.

Officials said the attackers had planned to take hostages and hole up in the compound.
Dera Ismail Khan is located close to South Waziristan tribal region, which was a key stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban till the army conducted an anti-militancy campaign in the area in 2009.

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