PAKISTAN

Five government targets hit in coordinated attacks

Pakistan was shaken on Thursday when militants unleashed a latest series of coordinated attacks against government and security forces in Lahore, Kohat and Peshawar.

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A string of coordinated attacks shook Pakistan on Thursday killing at least 40 people and injuring scores more as militants escalated their offensive against government security forces.

Five security and government sites were the target of attacks which began early on Thursday in Pakistan's second largest city, Lahore.

Gunmen stormed three police buildings in Lahore, killing 28 people. Among the dead were 16 police officers and 10 attackers who were either shot dead or blew themselves up.

A suicide bomber then hit another police station in the northwestern town of Kohat, leaving at least 11 people dead.

Later the same day, a car bomb rammed into a residential building of government employees in Peshawar killing one child and injuring a dozen.

"Whoever is working for the government is now endangered”

“It is a very clear message from those behind the attacks… whoever is working for the government is now endangered,” said Stephan Kloss, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Islamabad.

“People don’t feel safe any more,” Kloss told France 24.

Thursday’s attacks began when attackers stormed the Lahore branch of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a police training school and a commando academy on the city’s outskirts.

Both the FIA and the police training centre have been targets of militant attacks in the past.

At the commando academy, five attackers scaled the back wall of the building, sparking a three-hour siege, before the attackers were overpowered and the army announced it was in full control.

Then, in Kohat, "the bomber ploughed his car into the outer wall of the police station" in Kohat, district police chief Dilawar Bangash told AFP, adding that the building was badly damaged.

The latest series of attacks came just days after Taliban-linked gunmen staged an audacious raid on army headquarters in Rawalpindi near Islamabad. The ordeal ended with 23 people killed in a day-long siege. Thirty-nine hostages were freed by the commando troops.

In the past 11 days, 160 people have been killed in a wave of militant attacks ahead of an expected army offensive against militant factions in the country's northwestern provinces.

Bombing raids stepped up

The military fortified its bombing raids in the South Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Thursday.

Pakistan warplanes bombed suspected Taliban hideouts in the regions. A security official claimed 27 people died, but it was not clear how many were militants.

Tens of thousands of locals have been evacuated from the area under growing speculation that the military will next launch a ground offensive at the militant stronghold.

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