At least five people have been killed in a bomb and gun attack on the offices of Pakistan's top spy agency, officials said. More than 30 people are understood to have been injured.
The attack happened late on Wednesday in the southern town of Sukkur, 1000 kilometers (600 miles) from the capital, Islamabad. Pakistan's state broadcaster, PTV, reported that "terrorists" had seized control of one building, another was on fire, and the wall of a third had collapsed.
Four explosions were heard in the area before gunmen opened fire on security officials there, according to Javid Odho, a deputy inspector general of police. Security services were hunting up to 10 militants who detonated the bombs in the heavily guarded compound, said Masood Bangash, the deputy superintendent of police in Sukkur.
"Apparently it is an organized terrorist attack, we have sent [a] heavy contingent of police to the site," Odho told the news agency AFP.
Omar Hamid Khan, a spokesman for Pakistan's Interior Ministry, said it appeared that the regional office of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency was the target of the attack. The police and paramilitary also have offices in the area.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility. The Pakistani Taliban has declared a domestic insurgency and its frequent targets include the ISI as well as civilians, police, the army and other government offices and officials.
Attacks in southern areas like Sukkur are rare, and occur more frequently in the northwest along the Afghan border, or in cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Rawalpindi.
Khan said police were investigating whether the ISI was holding any important detainees in the office.
jr/lw (Reuters, AFP, AP)