Three policemen were among eight peole died in an an early Monday attack on a police station in Bannu district in Khayber Pakhtunkhwa, the brazen attack raised concerns about Taliban capability to pose challenge to the security forces.

A group of militants, equipped with heavy weapons, launched a pre-dawn attack on the Kukki police station, in the outskirts of Bannu.

Police sources said that the militants, wearing suicide vests, first fired rockets and later lobbed hand grenades and started firing with automatic guns.

The police launched counter attack and also called additional police force to fight back. Local media reported that soldiers were aslo seen surrounding the police station.

Correspondents in the region said that the militants later took shelter inside a nearby mosque and continued firing on the police. Sources said that two civilians, believed to be in the mosque for morning prayers, were killed during exchange of firing. Sources said that two attackers blew themselves up outside the police station.

Sources said that seven policemen including Station House Officer of the police station were injured. They were transferred to a nearby hospital.

Residents said that they heard huge explosions during the exchange of firing, which continued for nearly two hours. Locals also also joined the police forces against the militants.

Giving details of the incident, police said that a group of militants attacked the police station with heavy weapons and hand grenades at 6:30 am, which prompted exchange of heavy firing between the attackers and the militants.

Police sources said that the militants had arrived from North Waziristan tribal region, which is still considered as the stronghold of the militants. Several militant groups are operating in the tribal area, which has also been the focus of the U.S. drone strikes.

Taliban militants have carried out several attacks on police stations in Bannu in recent months.

In April, nearly 200 Taliban militants attacked the central prison outside Bannu and freed nearly 400 prisoners, including dozens of militants, in one of the major jailbreak in Pakistan.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

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