BANNU – Taliban suicide bombers dressed in burqas attacked a police station in Bannu on Monday, taking several hostages before police stormed the building and ended the siege.

Police said a suicide bomber blew himself up, while the other was shot dead by police and three policemen were wounded in the ensuing gunbattles.

Initial reports indicated that one constable was also killed in the attack, but a police official said no policeman died, adding that he was in a coma.

Two terrorists at around 10 am stormed the special branch of Old City Police Station. The militants threw hand grenades and opened fire on the building. At the time of the attack, it is stated that a total of 20 policemen were present in the building.

Police cordoned off the building and exchanged fire with the attackers. The entire area was resonating with gunfire as terrorists hurled hand grenades. Three police constables and a terrorist sustained injuries in the exchange of fire. The firing lasted for about one and a half hour, as the terrorists had made hostage the policemen present in the building.

Army’s quick reaction unit was called in to assist the police in the operation. After an hour’s resistance, a terrorist was shot dead while another blew himself up. It took police and army personnel roughly five hours to end the siege and rescued the hostages. A complete curfew was clamped in the area.

After the completion of the operation, the injured police constables: Bakhtiar, Asmatullah and Shahabuddin were rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital. Later, constable Bakhtiar whose condition was critical was referred to Peshawar. Police also arrested several from the surrounding areas after the operation.

Talking to media persons, DPO Bannu Waqar Ahmad said some armed militants entered the Old City Police Station in the morning and tried to take hostage the police staff present there. But the militants failed in their bid, he said. “The terrorists were wearing burqas and killed during the fighting,” the police officer said, adding it was the special branch of Old City Police Station which was targeted.

He denied that terrorists were five in number. He said actually they were not more than two - one of them was killed while another blew himself up.

Agencies add: Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility in a telephone call to AFP. The group has waged an insurgency in the northwest that has killed thousands of people since July 2007.

Tuesday’s assault is the latest in a string of attacks by militants on buildings and locations used by security forces in the country.

Terrorists beaten in attack on Bannu police station