Quetta - Gunmen Thursday showered bullets on a police vehicle in Quetta, killing four police officials - including a superintendent - and injuring the driver.

Quaidabad SP Mubarak Shah was on a routine tour in Killi Deeba when four gunmen on two motorcycles attacked in Mir Baz Khan Street, police said.

City police officer Muhammad Sultan said “the head and upper parts of all the four victims were targeted”. The policeman, who was driving the vehicle, was wounded critically, he added.

The terrorist attack in Brewery Road Police precincts was claimed by both the Islamic State and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban. IS and JuA have in the past jointly claimed responsibility for attacks in the country.

Following the attack, the law enforcers rushed to the area, cordoned off it and launched a seach for the attackers.

The bodies and injured were taken to Civil Hospital Quetta. The names of the three martyred cops were Syad Fazal Rabi, Mudasar and Irfan, according to Edhi sources.

Hospital spokesman Dr Waseem Baig said that driver Amdullah had also suffered severe injuries and he was undergoing operation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack, his office said.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri also condemned the targeted attack on police and expressed grief over the loss of lives.

He ordered the law enforcement agencies to widen their operation against miscreants and expressed government commitment to fail the evil designs of the enemy, which seeks destabilisation of the province through fanning anarchy.

After a considerable period of calm, Balochistan has seen a surge in violence, marked by attacks on police and political workers.

Earlier this week, on July 10, Killa Abdullah District Police Officer SSP Sajid Khan Mohmand and his guard were martyred in a suicidal strike in Chaman – near Afghan border.

As many as 15 others including three security men were wounded in that attack, claimed by Taliban.

The surge in militant attacks has raised concern about security for projects in the $57-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a planned transport and energy link from western China to Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar.

Resource-rich Balochistan has long been plagued by insurgencies by separatists. Islamist groups such as the Taliban and Islamic State also carry out attacks in the region.

Shia colonies in Quetta and the buses of Shia pilgrims indenting for neighbouring Iran had also been coming under deadly bomb attacks by Sunni sectarian organisations as well as the Taliban.

Backed by the army, the security forces had however turned the tide against the terrorists in the volatile province. The recent uptick in violence is expected to invite stronger action by the security agencies.

Terrorists target kill SP, three cops in Quetta

Sharif Khan