updated 4/4/2004 1:47:26 AM ET 2004-04-04T06:47:26

Gunmen stormed a police station in the southern city of Karachi on Sunday and opened fire, killing five police in a dawn attack.

Authorities believe one attacker was killed in return fire — judging by a large pool of blood outside the bullet-perforated police station, said Tariq Jamil, police deputy inspector-general for Karachi.

The assault hit a small police post near the airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and the frequent scene of extremist violence.

Ten gunmen entered the station and shouted, “We will not leave any police alive,” Officer Abdul Khaliq Shaikh told The Associated Press.

Attackers fired dozens of rounds, killing two police officers and three constables, Shaikh said.

Policeman Mohammed Hussain said he was inside a smaller prayer room at the station, offering morning prayers, at the time of the attack. He said he grabbed his weapon and returned fire from the prayer room, striking one attacker while taking a bullet in the arm himself.

Attackers left in two vehicles, taking their injured with them, Jamil said.

Authorities were unsure of the motive behind the attack. Jamil said it would be premature for authorities to discuss what group might have been to blame.

“Of course this is terrorism, but we don’t know what kind yet,” Shaikh said.

Authorities stepped up security at police stations around Karachi.

A port city of 14 million, Karachi has seen a series of attacks by Islamic extremists in recent years.

On March 15, police defused a large bomb outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi minutes before it was set to explode. Police have not announced the arrests of any suspects.

A suicide bomber blew up a truck in front of the consulate in June 2002, killing 14 Pakistanis.

In April 2002, a bomb aimed at the motorcade of Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a vital ally in the U.S. war on terrorism, failed to detonate as he traveled through Karachi. Three Islamic militants were sentenced to 10 years in prison in the assassination attempt.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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