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Pakistan thwarts militant attack on naval air station in southwestern Balochistan

Pakistan thwarts militant attack on naval air station in southwestern Balochistan

FILE PHOTO 
 
- All 4 attackers, 1 Pakistani soldier killed, says army
 

 

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistani security forces thwarted a late-night attack on a naval air station in southwestern Balochistan, officials said Tuesday.

Heavily armed gunmen tried to barge into PNS Siddiq in Turbat district at 10 p.m. local time (1700GMT) late Monday, but security forces "neutralized all attackers,” a senior military official had told Anadolu on condition of anonymity.

The Pakistani army said Tuesday that it responded swiftly and effectively to ensure the safety and security of personnel and assets.

"Security forces in the vicinity were immediately mobilized to support the naval troops. Synergetic and effective response by the armed forces enabled killing of all four terrorists in ensuing joint clearance operation," said the army in a statement.

The military also confirmed that one soldier of the Pakistani army was killed during the intense fire exchange.

Balochistan Liberation Army, an outlawed separatist militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to local media.

The attack took place days after eight gunmen stormed a government complex in the strategic port city of Gwadar last week. All eight attackers and two army troops were killed in an hours-long gun battle.

The group has long been involved in attacks on security forces in Pakistan's mineral-rich Balochistan, the country's largest but poorest province.

Security forces have long been facing a low-intensity rebellion by Baloch separatists, who claim the province had been “forcibly” incorporated into Pakistan, following the end of British colonial rule in then-United India in 1947.

The province is also a key route of the $64-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which aims to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to Balochistan’s Gwadar Port through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines for cargo, oil, and gas transportation.

 

*Islamuddin Sajid contributed to this story from Islamabad.

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