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59 killed, dozens injured in attack on Pakistani police training center

Almost 60 people have been killed and over 100 injured after unidentified gunmen stormed a police training center in the city of Quetta, Pakistan, taking hundreds of cadets hostage. Islamic State terrorist group reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

At least 59 people including security personnel have been killed in the standoff, according to health officials cited by Reuters. Pakistani military commandos have managed to rescue over 200 hostages, according to local media reports. 

"Forty eight bodies have been brought to the hospital," Wasim Beg, senior doctor at Quetta's Civil Hospital told Reuters earlier.

At least 3 of the gunmen have also been killed, authorities confirmed. Police and security forces are at the scene and cordoned off the area.

A major special forces operation lasted for hours after at least five attackers entered the building and opened fire in Balochistan’s capital Quetta late Monday night. Some of the cadets evacuated from Balochistan Police College as special forces arrived to take out the militants.

"Five to six terrorists barged into the academy from [the] back side," the Pakistani media cited the regional government spokesman Anwar ul-Haq Kakar as saying. The attackers then "went straight to the hostel" of the academy, where around 200 to 250 police recruits are normally housed, Kakar said.

As the standoff continued, gunfire and explosions were reported at the scene. Local reports indicate that over 100 people were wounded in the battle, with injured being brought to the Civil Hospital Quetta and CMH hospital.

According to various estimates from 200 to 500 cadets could have been inside the facility at the time of the attack. Generally, cadets studying at the academy are between the ages of 18 and 26, Pakistan-based reporter Javed Rana told RT.

Citing a survivor who escaped the attack, Pakistani Dunya News reported that the attackers opened fire as they stormed the training facility from the rear. Some of the terrorists were wearing suicide vests, the TV channel reported, citing a source close to law enforcement.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry has established a control room to monitor the situation, Dunya News said.

The Khorasan, considered to be Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group's arm in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s Major General Sher Afghan blamed the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami terrorist group for orchestrating the attack, claiming that Monday night’s assailants received their directions from Afghanistan.

The attack has been condemned by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who went on to order the security forces to further guard and protect the police cadets.