PESHAWAR - Five policemen including a station house officer (SHO) were killed when their patrolling van was attacked by armed assailants in Dera Ismail Khan on Tuesday.

The incident happened some 40 kilometres off DI Khan in the jurisdiction of Paraova Police Station.

According to police, the mobile party led by SHO Paraova Police Station Tahir Nawaz was on way when unidentified armed assailants intercepted them near Mahra sub town.

The attackers, armed with sophisticated weapons were riding motorcycles and a double cab pickup sprayed bullets on the party, not letting them to retaliate instantly. The attackers made their escape after leaving the police personnel lying in pool of blood.

According to some reports, police van had stopped near a filling station when it was attacked.

Four policemen identified as constable Mehrban, constable Asif, constable Sarfaraz, and driver Javed were killed in the attack while SHO Tahir Nawaz along with two passersby sustained injuries in the ambush.

Local police official Mohammad Javed said another two police officers were wounded in Tuesday’s attack.

After committing the crime, the assailants escaped from the scene. Injured SHO Tahir Nawaz was rushed to Dera Ismael Khan’s Combined Military Hospital for treatment. However, he succumbed to his injuries later. Tahir Nawaz had received bullets in abdomen and leg.

Regional Police Officer (RPO) Dar Ali Khattak, District Police Officer (DPO) Dr Muhammad Iqbal, DSP Mehr Ali along with heavy contingents of police immediately rushed to the spotted area.

The area was cordoned off by the police and search operations in the surroundings were conducted. Reports received from the area suggested that people had been restricted to their homes and the area was giving the look of curfew-like situation.

It was stated in the initial report that about 12 assailants attacked the police van.

It was also reported that the attackers took away arms and wireless sets from the policemen.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Dera Ismail Khan is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups have long operated it the porous border region.

The latest attack comes two weeks after gunmen stormed a police station, killing eight police officers and a civilian in Balochistan. Four militants were also killed in the attack.

Buzdar GRIEVED

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed a deep sense of sorrow over the martyrdom of police officials in firing at a police van in Dera Ismail Khan.

He extended sympathies to the bereaved families and prayed for early recovery of the injured.