Militants wearing suicide vests stormed a Pakistani police academy on the outskirts the southwestern city of Quetta overnight, killing at least 59 people, mostly police cadets and recruits, and waging a ferocious gunbattle with troops that lasted into early hours Tuesday. Pakistani officials feared the death toll could rise further, as the four-hours-long siege—one of the deadliest attacks on Pakistan's security forces in recent years—left 117 wounded, some of them in critical condition, the AP reports. The assault, which involved four to six attackers, caught many of the recruits asleep in their dorms and forced cadets and trainers to jump off rooftops and run for their lives to escape the attackers.
About 700 cadets, trainees, instructors, and other staff were inside the academy when it was attacked. By mid-day Tuesday, conflicting claims of responsibility emerged. ISIS claimed that three of its fighters killed 60 police recruits but the claim was not confirmed by Pakistani officials and ISIS did not offer any previously unknown details about the assault. A little-known breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Hakimullah group, also issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. Maj. Gen. Sher Afgan, head of the Pakistani paramilitary force which is primarily responsible for the province, claimed the attackers had received instructions from commanders in neighboring Afghanistan.