Multiple terrorist groups claim responsibility for attack on sleeping Pakistani cadets
Two terrorist groups have separately claimed responsibility for an attack on a police academy in Quetta, Pakistan which has left at least 61 dead and 117 injured. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has accused a third group of carrying out the atrocity.
According to AP, at 11.30 p.m. local time on Monday three attackers wearing suicide vests shot dead a guard on a watch tower outside the police academy before entering the barracks which house up to 700 cadets, many of whom were already asleep.
“We were sleeping when terrorists attacked the center,” Asif Hussain, a cadet who was in the academy’s barracks at the time, told CNN. Many of the cadets didn’t have access to any guns to fight off the attackers.
A ferocious four-hour gun battle ensued, which saw the three attackers perish — one was shot dead, two others died in apparent suicide bombings.
Competing claims of responsibility
Pakistan’s military officials told reporters on Tuesday that an al-Qaeda-linked militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was most likely behind the attack and had received directions from commanders in Afghanistan, reported Time. The Afghan government condemned the attacks and dismissed Pakistan’s allegations.
— Terrormonitor.org (@Terror_Monitor) October 25, 2016
Hours after these accusations, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility through its Amaq media wing. According to Site Intelligence, the post claimed the attack was carried out by three members of the Khorasan Province of the Islamic State group. The post also featured a picture of those alleged to have carried out the attack.
Separately, a second terrorist group claimed responsibility for Monday night’s attack. The little-known Hakimullah group, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban said it had carried out the attack. However, Pakistani officials did not confirm the group’s claim, and expressed doubt it has the capabilities to stage such a coordinated and spectacular assault, the Associated Press reported.
To add to the confusion, a senior security official speaking anonymously to the New York Times said the Islamic State had “outsourced” the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.