At least two soldiers and two militants have been killed in an attack by a group of armed men on the central police station in Karachi, Pakistan.
Karachi police say that in addition to the dead, six rangers and three policemen were injured and transferred to the hospital for treatment.
Murtaza Wahab, a government adviser, confirmed that police and paramilitary forces in a joint operation had cleared the police station within three hours of the attack
“I confirm that the operation against the terrorists is over,” said Wahab, according to the AP.
The attack began when gunmen drove up in a white car, shot at the door, and managed to enter the police building, police said.
Officers were seen in television footage surrounding the station as residents reported the sound of explosions and the gunfire.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told the Pakistani media that the attackers first set off an explosion at the gate of the police station and then entered the building.
Karachi police chief Javed Alam Odho confirmed to the media that his office was attacked by “terrorists.”
The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group, in a brief statement, claimed responsibility.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi in a statement condemned the attack, while Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid tribute to security forces for the successful operation.
Last month, a suicide bombing on the Police Lines mosque in Peshawar killed more than 100 people and injured more than 200. Eyewitnesses told RFE/RL that the suicide bombers were standing behind the imam in the first row when they detonated their explosives.
Sharif said after that attack that terrorism was still the biggest challenge for Pakistan.
The government had been negotiating with the TTP, but the group’s leader, Noor Wali Maseed, announced in November that promises made during the negotiations were not fulfilled and told his militants to resume attacks in self-defense.
In response to the attacks, local people have staged protests and demanded stepped-up security in the area.