Lahore: A group of heavily armed militants today gunned down nine policemen in this eastern Pakistani city after storming a building where dozens of security personnel were living.
Eight more policemen were also injured in the attack in the densely populated neighbourhood of Ichra this morning, officials said.
The policemen belonged to the prison department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest and had come to Lahore for training.
"Nine policemen were killed in the attack," Punjab Police chief Haji Habib-ur-Rehman told reporters after visiting the scene of the attack.
He said at least 30 policemen from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had rented the private building that was attacked by a group of about 10 militants.
"The attackers killed a policeman who was guarding the buildings entrance and then went through three floors, attacking others who were sleeping," Rehman said.
The attackers were armed with assault rifles, pistols and grenades.
Officials said they had called in the bomb disposal squad to defuse a grenade that had failed to explode.
Footage on television showed policemen breaking down and crying as rescue workers removed the bodies of their dead colleagues from the building.
The attackers came to Ichra in a car and three motorcycles, Rehman said.
He did not rule out the possibility that today's attack was linked to an assault on a Pakistan Army camp near Gujrat city on Monday that killed eight soldiers and a policeman.
"The incident in Gujrat and this one were acts of terrorism. There is a likelihood that the same gang is involved," he said.
He pointed out militants had warned they would carry out attacks following the Pakistan governmentҒs decision to reopen NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.
In both the attacks on the army camp near Gujrat and the building in Lahore today, the militants had come to the spot in a Suzuki Cultus car and motorcycles, police said.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack.