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QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen riding on motorcycles in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta shot and killed three paramilitary officers on Friday before fleeing, an official said.
The officers were on guard duty when they were attacked, according to Wasay Khan, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps. Two died at the scene, while the third succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, the spokesman added.
Baluchistan, where Quetta is the provincial capital, has long been the center of a low-level insurgency by small separatist groups demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region's natural resources such as gas and oil.
The government says it's trying to improve the local economy and bring the separatists into mainstream politics. There have been attacks on security forces and members of the minority Shiite sect in the provincial capital and its surroundings in recent months.
The province is also home to Islamic militants and sectarian group like Lashker-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed responsibility for many attacks on Shiites.
Hours after Friday's attack, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killing in a statement posted on an IS-affiliated website. Pakistani authorities deny that the extremist militant group, which is based in Syria and Iraq, has a presence in Quetta and elsewhere in the country.
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.
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