QUETTA: Gunmen riding a motorcycle killed three policemen at a checkpoint in southwest Pakistan on Sunday before fleeing the scene, authorities said, in an attack later claimed by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.
The incident occurred on the main Saryab Road of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province which is wracked by separatist and Islamist violence, senior police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema told AFP.
Doctor Farid Sumalani, head of the Sandeman Provincial Hospital, confirmed the incident.
Quetta is the capital of Pakistan’s mineral-rich Balochistan province which borders Iran and Afghanistan.
Ali Bin Sufyan, a spokesman for the Al Alami branch of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militant group, sent AFP a text message taking credit for the shooting.
IS has been making inroads in the country through alliances with local militant outfits such as LeJ and the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Pakistani Taliban, though its presence is generally downplayed by the government.
LeJ has claimed joint responsibility along with IS for several major attacks in the region including one on lawyers in Quetta that killed more than 70 people.
Earlier this week IS said it had killed two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped last month by armed gunmen in Quetta.
Beijing is ramping up investment in its South Asian neighbour as part of a plan unveiled in 2015 that will link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.
Pakistan has been battling Islamist and nationalist insurgencies in the province since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting.—AFP