A group of Taliban suicide attackers stormed a police station in Pakistan's restive northwest on Monday, triggering a gun battle that left eight persons dead, including four policemen.
The terrorists, armed with heavy weapons and wearing suicide vest, launched the attack at Kakki, located 14 km from Bannu city in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, while policemen and local residents were offering prayers at a mosque inside the police station compound.
The terrorists began firing and lobbed grenades after they were challenged by a policeman. About 20 policemen who were present in the police station returned fire, triggering a gun battle that continued for over an hour.
Four policemen and two civilians were killed when one suicide attacker blew himself up in the mosque. Another attacker blew himself up in a nearby market while fleeing, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
At least eight persons, including two policemen and an officer, were injured in the attack.
There was confusion about the total number of attackers, with some reports saying up to five terrorists were involved in the incident and that some of them had escaped.
Army troops were called out after the attack and the security forces cordoned off the area and conducted a search operation.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan saying it was carried out in retaliation for the recent killing of Ibrahim Mehsud, a nephew of slain former Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.
The Bannu region is located close to the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan and has witnessed several attacks by militants.
President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the attack, saying such cowardly acts cannot shake the government's resolve to wipe out terrorism.