Bannu: Police checkpoint in NW Pakistan attacked by militants

Pakistani security personnel stand guard outside the Supreme Court building during a hearing in Islamabad on Jan. 19, 2012.</p>

Pakistani security personnel stand guard outside the Supreme Court building during a hearing in Islamabad on Jan. 19, 2012.

A security checkpoint in the northwestern Pakistani city of Bannu was attacked by militants early today, sparking a gunbattle that killed at least one police officer, local officials told Agence-France Press

Local police chief Waqar Ahmed said there was an "exchange of fire" between police and a group of some half-dozen militants who assaulted the police intelligence building there with gunfire and grenades, said AFP

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Army soldiers were called into the city, which lies in the country's restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, in order to help local forces, which have surrounded the building, according to PTI news agency

Authorities have imposed a curfew, said AFP

Nearly 400 prisoners escaped a Bannu detainment center in an April jailbreak led by the extremist Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, said PTI

Violence is relatively common in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, considered a haven of militant activity and a crossing point for insurgents traveling between Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.