TTP militants attack police station in Pakistan's Punjab province

Lahore, Feb 1 (PTI) Heavily-armed Pakistani Taliban militants opened fire at a police station in Mianwali in Pakistan's Punjab province, days after a member of the dreaded outfit blew himself up inside a mosque in Peshawar that killed over 100 people.
     District Police Officer Mianwali Muhammad Naveed said around 20 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants armed with automatic weapons attacked the Makarwal police station on Tuesday night but were repulsed by the law enforcement agency.
     The latest incident assumes significance because TTP, which hitherto targeted police stations and check posts in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, has now trained its guns in Punjab province, according to the Dawn.
     According to social media reports, the attack started at around 9 pm on Tuesday after militants opened heavy fire at Makkarwal police station using automatic weapons.
     This resulted in a heavy exchange of retaliatory fire by the police that lasted for more than two hours, the report said.
     Punjab Inspector Gen­eral of Police Dr Usman Anwar said the militants belonged to the TTP, the report said.
     Makarwal in the Isakhel tehsil is a mostly hilly area known for coal mines.
     A law enforcement official said a search operation was intensified after police teams failed to nab the militants who managed to flee by taking advantage of the inaccessible terrain.
     On Monday, a TTP suicide bomber killed over 100 worshippers at a mosque inside a major police facility in Peshawar, the capital of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
     According to Pakistani security officials, the suicide bomber who was present in the front row during the Zuhr (afternoon) prayers on Monday blew himself up, causing the roof to collapse on the worshippers -- one of Pakistan's deadliest attacks in recent years.
     The TTP, set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007, called off a ceasefire with the federal government and ordered its militants to stage terrorist attacks across the country.
     The group, which is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
     In 2014, the Pakistani Taliban stormed the Army Public School (APS) in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least 150 people, including 131 students. Monday's deadly attack has sent shockwaves across the world and was widely condemned.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)