Two policemen were killed and 13 others, including seven policemen, were injured in a gun and suicide attack in district police lines in Swabi on Monday.
Police said the bomber blew himself up outside the Shah Mansoor compound of police offices and residences at 8 40 am.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Mardan Range Abdullah Khan told reporters that there were four assailants, one of them the suicide bomber, who arrived by car.
They all opened fire at policemen with Kalashnikov rifles before the bomber blew himself up as he was stopped from entering the facility. The exchange of fire continued for around half an hour.
Khan said police returned fire and killed another accomplice, while he was trying to flee the scene. Two of the assailants fled. Police have launched a search for the men. The blast and firing damaged nearby buildings. Khan told journalists that the target of the attackers was police lines. He said that security has been strengthened in the district following the attack.
Three of the injured were rushed to Peshawar for treatment, while the others were taken to local hospitals.
Authorities imposed an emergency in the Baacha Khan Medical Complex Shah Mansoor and district headquarters hospital Swabi.
This was the first attack of its kind in Swabi district. Last month, security forces had carried out an operation in the Katlang area of nearby Mardan district and claimed killing several militants. Meanwhile, according to AFP news agency, Taliban spokesperson Azam Tariq called from an undisclosed location and claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for a stepped-up US drone missile campaign.
“We will continue to target police and security forces until drone attacks and military operations against Taliban are stopped,” Tariq said. The City Police and other law enforcement agencies have taken extra security measures guarding their installations in town, including Punjab Police College Sihala, after the Swabi attack.
Following intelligence reports, police directed field officers to ensure tight security in and around Sihala Police College, Rawat Police Training Centre, Police Headquarters, Regional Police Office and City Police Office.
They said policemen guarding hostels, classrooms and mess have been directed to stay vigilant. Recruits and instructors had been allowed to keep arms with them on the premises. Additional police force had been deployed at the Sihala College’s main entry and exit points and no one is allowed to enter without identification and a body search.
AFP With additional reporting by Imran Asghar.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2010.