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Dozens killed in attack on Pakistan police academy

Abdul Sattar
Associated Press

Quetta, Pakistan — Survivors of an overnight attack that killed 61 people at a Pakistani police academy described chaotic scenes of gunfire and explosions, with militants shooting anyone they saw and cadets running for their lives and jumping from windows and rooftops.

A Taliban splinter group and an affiliate of the Islamic State group made competing claims of responsibility for the four-hour siege late Monday at the Police Training College on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta.

Most of the dead and the 123 wounded were recruits and cadets, said Wasay Khan, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps. Of the three militants who carried out the attack, two blew themselves up with explosive vests and the third was killed by army gunfire, he added.

As the nation reeled and sought to understand how militants were able to carry out such violence, many Pakistanis were reminded of a bloody 2014 attack by the Taliban on an army-run school in Peshawar in which more than 150 people were killed.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif rushed to the scene to meet with survivors, who spoke of the horrors of the surprise attack on about 700 cadets, trainees, instructors and other staff that began about 11:30 p.m.

In the chaos, cadets and trainers ran for their lives, jumping through windows and off rooftops to try to escape.