Terrorists attack Karachi’s KPO office; security forces clear building
- Terrorists attacked the KPO from its main gate
- They lobbed grenades and stormed the building
- Officials believe there were 6 - 10 terrorists
- Joint operation by police, Rangers and army commandoes
- Operation lasted nearly 3 hours
- Three terrorists were killed
- One terrorist detonated his suicide vest
- All five floors of KPO cleared, search operation launched
- At least 4 people including one police and one Ranger killed
- Over 19 people injured including senior police and Rangers officials
- TTP claim responsibility for the attack
Terrorists of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan on Friday stormed the Karachi Police Office (KPO), located on Karachi’s main artery, Shahrae Faisal. The attack led to an hours long siege and floor-by-floor operation by security forces in which all four attackers ended up dead while four security officials and civilians were killed and over 19 injured.
After a three and a half our ordeal, a joint operation managed to clear the main building of the KPO of all terrorists and a search operation was launched.
DIG Dr Maqsood Ahmed confirmed that all terrorists hiding in the building had been killed in the joint operation conducted by commandoes of the police, paramilitary Rangers and the Army.
He said that at least three terrorists were killed during the operation while a fourth killed himself by detonating his suicide vest.
He added that several large and small explosions were heard, including what officials suspects were detonations of suicide jackets and hand grenades.
Meanwhile, at least four people were martyred in the attack and subsequent operation including a police officer, a paramilitary Ranger and two civilians were martyred while 17 people have been injured .
The sound of heavy and frequent firing and explosions reverberated across the five-storey Karachi Police Office complex, located near the Financial Trade Center (FTC) on main Shahrae Faisal, on Friday evening. It spread fear and panic in the area, particularly among commuters.
“The Karachi police office has come under attack,” Additional Inspector General Javed Alam Odho confirmed.
The Karachi Police Office contains the office for Karachi’s police chief, or Additional Inspector General of Police for Karachi. Previously this office was known as the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) office.
Sources said that there could be eight to 10 attackers who came in a white vehicle while some officials stated that the terrorists gained access to the complex from the rear where the motor vehicle pool and workshop is maintained.
Shortly after the sound of heavy gunfire was reported from the building. Heavy contingents of police from nearby police stations was dispatched to the spot along with paramilitary Rangers.
The lights inside the police office were also turned off to prevent the terrorists from knowing where to go. Shahrae Faisal, near the police station has been blocked for traffic as well to protect civilians.
Around 60-70 staff are said to work in the office but by evening, this number falls as people leave for the day.
Those inside said that they have locked themselves in their rooms to stay safe from the terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of police Rapid Response Force (RRF) and AIG Karachi have also reached the police office.
The quick response force of the paramilitary Rangers along with the Rapid Response Force and the Counter Terrorism Department of the police and snipers of the Special Services Unit (SSU) mounted an operation against the attackers with support from a contingent of the army.
Sindh Rangers said that the head of their Anti-Terrorist Wing was leading the Rangers in the operation.
DIG South Irfan Baloch said that they went floor by floor, clearing it of any terrorists. He said that they managed to clear most of the floors while terrorist had holed up on the fourth and fifth floors.
While clearing the fourth floor of the building, heavy exchange of gunfire was heard along with several loud explosions.
He added that at the time of the attack, around 50 people were in the building.
Explaining one of the louder explosions, officials suspected that it is possible one of the suspects detonated his suicide vest. He added that it was followed by intense exchange of fire.
DIG Baloch said that high ranking police officers and Rangers officers were present on the floor when the suicide bomber detonated his vest but they all remained unhurt.
Later, South DIG Irfan Baloch said that they had cleared the KPO office and recovered two high ranking officers.
He added that while clearing the top floor, further firing and explosions were heard, including the bangs of two hand grenades exploding.
After clearing the building, a sweep and search operation was launched.
Officials added that the bomb disposal squad was currently sweeping the building for presence of any planted devices.
Meanwhile, Dr Tariq Mahmood at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), said that a total of 21 casualties were brought to the hospital over the course of the night from KPO.
Of these, four were brought dead while 15 were injured, including four critically.
The dead included one Ranger Sub-Inspector Taimoor who hailed from Multan. His martyrdom was later confirmed by Sindh Rangers.
One police officer, 30-year-old constable Ghulam Abbas.
The two civilians brought dead were identified as 37-year-old Amjad Masih and 30-year-old Saeed. The former was a sweeper while the latter was a lift operator.
One of the critically injured, Mauripur SHO Inspector 45-year-old Ghulam Hussain, was shifted to a private hospital for treatment.
The 10 injured Rangers were identified as 35-year-old Abdul Rahim, 35-year-old Imran, 25-year-old Tahir Amjad, 30-year-old Abdul Latif, 30-year-old Umair, 30-year-old Altaf, 30-year-old Samar, 34-year-old Asghar Ali, and 34-year-old Umair.
A senior officer of the Rangers was also injured.
At least seven police officers including 48-year-old Inspector AB Khaliq, 40-year-old SSU DSP Haji AB Razzaq, 50-year-old Constable Latif Nawaz. Later, another constable of the SSU 30-year-old Rizwan Mushtaq, 45-year-old Inspector Ghulam Hussain, 40-year-old Head Constable Zarab and 25-year-old unnamed police constable were also brought in injured.
An Edhi volunteer identified as 25-year-old Sajid Hanif was also injured.
Hospital administration said they later cleared regular patients in the emergency ward to respective wards to clear space.
Later, DIG Baloch said that the martyred police officers belonged to the SSU.
Taliban claim responsibility
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that its fighters had stormed the tightly guarded Karachi Police Office compound, home to dozens of administrative and residential buildings as well as hundreds of officers and their families.
A spokesperson for the TTP claimed responsibility in a WhatsApp message to AFP.
“Our Mujahideen martyrs have attacked Karachi Police Office. More details to follow,” he said.
Full might of state, coordinated actions necessary to eradicate terrorists: PM Shehbaz
In a statement on Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Karachi Police Office on Friday evening.
He ordered to mount a planned operation against the terrorists in the building of KPO.
Foreign hands could be involved
Foreign hand could be involved in attack on Karachi Police Office, said Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.
Audio of the gunfire heard from KPO
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon confirmed the incident. He added that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was personally monitoring the incident.
Noting that there were general threats but no specific threats against the police.
Terming any suspected assailants involved as terrorists, he said that heavy contingent of police and the paramilitary Rangers have been dispatched to the spot.
Catch them alive
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori said that India’s external espionage agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has made a 20 year investment into destabilizing Karachi.
He added that the delay currently in conducting the operation against the suspected militants was that they were evolving a strategy whereby to apprehend the attackers alive so that they can be presented to the world and unmask those involved.
The locality where the firing was reported is a densely populated area and the Saddar Police Station and Police Lines are also located nearby.
It is located just off Shahrae Faisal, which is the main artery of the city connecting the downtown, business district with the rest of the city and is full of commuters heading home for the day resulting in a rush hour.
The firing reportedly took place at a time when security is already on high-alert in the city following the arrival of international cricket players for Pakistan Super League and the recently concluded international naval military exercise Aman 2023.
Earlier, the Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars practiced at the National Bank Arena in Karachi.