Dozens killed in Islamist militant attack on northwest Pakistan army base

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Security officials examine damage at the site of a bombing on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan on Tuesday, December 12, 2023. AP

By Saud Mehsud Mushtaq Ali Reuters

Islamist militants rammed an explosive-laden truck into a police station in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 24 people, two security officials said, the latest devastating attack in recent months claimed by a Pakistani Taliban group.

The bomb and gun attack occurred in the district of Dera Ismail Khan on the edge of the lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, the two security officials told Reuters.

The police station was being used by the Pakistani Army as a base camp, they said, adding that several militants first rammed the truck into its boundary wall, then others attacked with guns. They feared military ammunition stored inside might have also exploded.

There was no official confirmation of the death toll. The army’s public relations wing did not respond to a request for a comment.

Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti condemned the attack and expressed grief over the deaths, a statement from his office said.

Several people were wounded and in critical condition, said Aizaz Mehmood, an official of the state-run rescue service.

“We are still hearing gunshots,” he added.

In a statement, a Pakistani Taliban group, the Tahreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), which has emerged recently, said its militants carried out the attack aimed at the Pakistani army.

It was not immediately clear whether the group was linked to the main Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group of Islamist and sectarian militants, which has targeted the state and its agencies for years, seeking to overthrow the government and replace it with rule based on their harsh brand of Islamic law.

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