10 Officers Killed in Pre-Election Violence

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On February 5, 2024, a group armed with rockets, firearms, and grenades attacked a police station in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The assault resulted in the death of ten police officers, with an additional six officers injured. This violent incident occurred just days before the country’s parliamentary elections, adding to the tension.

While the identity of the attackers remains unknown, suspicion quickly fell on the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned group notorious for its frequent attacks on security forces in the region. The group operates in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, near the Afghan border.

Senior police officer Anees-ul-Hassan confirmed that a large-scale search operation has started to arrest the culprits. Consequently, all roads into and out of the district have been closed.

In December, a military facility in Dera Ismail Khan was the target of an intense raid, believed to be the work of Tehrik-e-Jihad Pakistan, or TJP. This faction, suspected of being a splinter group of the main TTP organization, publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.

The December assault, which involved suicide bombers, resulted in the deaths of 23 soldiers and injured many others, making it one of the harshest military confrontations in Pakistan’s recent history.

Following the December attack, Pakistani military and police forces have conducted operations that resulted in the deaths of several insurgents. Despite these actions, the threat from militant groups like Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan remains a significant issue.

Witnesses described the recent attack as starting with grenade explosions, followed by sniper fire, causing most of the casualties. The confrontation between the police and the militants lasted for several hours until the arrival of reinforcements forced the attackers to retreat.

The attack has been widely condemned by government officials and political parties participating in the upcoming elections. Despite the heightened security threats, authorities have confirmed that the elections will go ahead as planned.

These attacks form part of a larger pattern of increasing militant violence across Pakistan, with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province being particularly affected. In January 2023, a suicide bomber in Peshawar killed at least 101 people, primarily police officers, underlining the persistent threat posed by extremist groups.

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