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Five policemen killed in Karachi shooting
Updated: 2004-04-04 14:01

At least 10 gunmen stormed into a police station in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi early on Sunday, killing five policemen and wounding one after demanding the officers recite Islamic verses, police said.

One of the attackers died in the shoot-out near the airport in the city, Pakistan's largest and the scene of frequent religious violence. The rest of the assailants escaped by car, said Syad Kamal Shah, police chief in southern Sindh province.

The assault was one of the boldest in recent years on Karachi's police, who were the target of several bomb attacks last year that caused mostly injuries.

"Police are looking for who is responsible and what were the motives," said Shah.

Policeman Hasan Jatoi, who was wounded in the gunfight, told Reuters the clean-shaven men shot several of the officers in the head at close range after bursting into the station at about 5:15 a.m. (0015 GMT).

Tension is high in Pakistan following a raid involving about 5,000 troops on 400 to 500 suspected al Qaeda and other Islamist fighters last month in the tribal region of South Waziristan near the Afghan border in which more than 120 people were killed.

Islamic militants have been blamed for a string of attacks in Pakistan since Musharraf backed the U.S.-led war on terror in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

A police source said the attackers retrieved the body of the dead gunman before speeding off in several cars from the police post in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, a middle-class neighborhood about five km (three miles) from Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.

Police arrested a suspected Islamic militant with explosives in Karachi last week. Some officials said he had been plotting to attack the prime minister but others denied the premier was a target.

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