A group of heavily armed Pakistani Taliban militants on Thursday detonated an explosives-laden truck at the office of the Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is spearheading the drive against terrorists in the southern port city of Karachi, killing at least 18 people and injuring 115 others.
The attackers exchanged fire with guards outside the CID office, located in a high security zone at a short distance from the Chief Minister's official residence and several five-star hotels and consulates.
After getting past a barricade and disrupting power in the area, the attackers detonated the explosives-laden truck at 8.17 p.m. (local time).
The powerful blast destroyed the facade of the CID office and reduced the nearby Civil Lines police station to rubble. It also uprooted trees, blew out windows of nearby structures and shook buildings located several kilometres away.
Officials told the media that at least 18 people were killed and 115 others injured. The dead included several policemen and security personnel.
The relatives of policemen, including women and children, living in nearby residential quarters were among those injured.
Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza compared the attack to the suicide car bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed nearly 60 people in September 2008.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the blast and warned that it would carry out more attacks if its demands were not met, Geo News channel reported.
It could not immediately be ascertained whether the attackers were killed in the blast. There were conflicting reports on the number of militants involved in the attack.
The area around the CID office was cordoned off and an emergency was declared in hospitals. — PTI