Security forces have successfully completed a clearance operation at the Karachi Police Office (KPO) building, “neutralising” three terrorists following a four-hour-long siege on Friday. The building, which is situated on the main Sharea Faisal thoroughfare, has now been secured, police officials said.
Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab confirmed the news in a tweet from his official Twitter handle, stating, “I can so far confirm that the KPO building has been cleared. 3 terrorists have been neutralised.”
He also added that four people were martyred including two policemen, one Rangers solider and one civilian while 14 others were injured during the terrorist attack.
Out of the injured, one person is currently in critical condition and is receiving medical attention at Jinnah Hospital.
The incident began when heavily armed terrorists stormed into the KPO building on Friday evening. The sound of gunfire and explosions could be heard throughout the surrounding area, prompting police to seal off traffic on the main road through the city. Heavy contingents of security forces, including paramilitary soldiers, were dispatched to the scene, and an operation was launched to clear the building of the terrorists.
In a statement, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah appreciated the bravery and professionalism of personnel of law enforcement agencies including police and Rangers for successfully clearing the KPO building from terrorists.
The soldiers and officers have shown great courage against the terrorists attack, he added.
He also expressed sorrow for the three martyrs who lost their lives during the attack.
“Eleven injured of the attack will be provided the best treatment. We will never leave the families of martyrs alone,” the CM added.
Sources told The Express Tribune that two Special Service Group (SSG) teams of Pakistan Army lead the clearance operation. Troops of Special Operations Wing (SOW) of Pakistan Rangers Sindh also participated in the operation, they added.
DIG South Irfan Baloch said that at least six terrorists managed to enter the Karachi Police Office through rear entrance. He said that top police officers were present in the building.
“A heavy contingent of police and rangers has arrived. We are trying to arrest terrorists dead or alive,” he said.
Security officials said terrorists started firing indiscriminately as soon as they barged into the office. Loud explosions were heard several minutes later, with one powerful explosion on the fourth floor shattering glass windows and damaging parts of the building.
DIG South Irfan Baloch said the powerful explosion took place when an apparent suicide bomber detonated his explosives on the fourth floor. The bomb disposal squad was called in, he added.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took responsibility for the attack in a message sent by their spokesman to journalists, according to Reuters.
In an update, Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister Murtaza Wahab earlier said the KPO is a five-storey building with three floors have been cleared of terrorists so far by the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) including police, army and Rangers.
“Army snipers are also present to deal with the terrorists at the rooftop,” he said, adding that the LEAs have also reached the rooftop of the KPO building.
Sindh Rangers spokesperson said in a statement that Rangers Quick Response Force (QRF) reached the scene and cordoned off the area upon receiving the information about the attack on KPO.
Rangers started an operation against the terrorists along with the Sindh police.
Initially, the operation was launched on the information of the presence of 8 to 10 armed terrorists inside the KPO building, the spokesperson added.
In a statement, DIG East Muqaddas Haider said he was inside the building along with the police commandos.
SSP South Asad Raza said snipers were deployed on the building in front of the KPO to target the terrorists from there.
Sindh IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon said in statement that at least two terrorists were killed and some others injured. “We are trying to complete the operation as soon as possible,” he added.
Police officials said following the attack, the police personnel retaliated immediately and personnel from other police stations and police commandos were summoned to deal with the emergency situation.
Additional IG Javed Alam Odhu confirmed the attack on the police office, saying that the security personnel are fighting the terrorists while a heavy contingent of Rangers has also reached the spot.
SSU commandos and Rangers officials then entered the police office and the electricity of the office was suspended to launch the operation.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the attack and directed district inspector generals (DIGs) to send necessary police force from their respective zones to the scene. In a statement, he directed the officials to immediately arrest the culprits.
“The attack on the Karachi Police Chief’s office is not acceptable in any case. I want a report of the incident from the officer concerned,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
CM Murad also reached the scene and monitored the operation from the control room.
The state-run PTV news reported that Pakistan Rangers and elite police force cordoned off the area near AIG Office Karachi and a counter terrorist operation was launched against the terrorists.
“According to incoming reports hand grenades and automatic guns were used by no less than eight terrorists,” it added.
Speaking to the media, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon condemned the attack, saying that terrorists have tried to challenge the provincial government’s writ.
CM Murad is personally monitoring the operation against terrorists and police and Rangers will not let the terrorists to achieve their sinister objectives, he added.
He also denied that the provincial government had received any terror alert regarding any attack.
Foreign Minister and PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the terrorist attack on Karachi police.
“Sindh police have bravely faced and crushed terrorism before. We have full faith they will do so again… such cowardly attacks will not deter us,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.__Tribune.com