8 killed after militants attack luxury hotel in SW Pakistan
At least eight people including three militants, four civilians and a navy personnel were killed and six others injured when three militants stormed a five-star hotel in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province on Saturday, the country’s military said in a statement yesterday.
The suspects attempted to enter Pearl Continental Hotel, located in Gwadar district of the province, with the aim of targeting and taking guests staying in the hotel as hostages, the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistani military’s media wing, said in the statement.
“Security guards at the entry challenged terrorists denying them entry into the main hall and terrorists went to staircase leading to upper floors,” the statement said, adding that the militants kept on firing indiscriminately while moving to staircase, killing and injuring hotel staff.
Quick reaction forces of the army, the navy and the police immediately reached the hotel and evacuated guests and staff from the hotel while restricting the terrorists within the corridor of the fourth floor of the five-story hotel.
“After ensuring safe evacuation of guests and staff, clearance operation was launched to take on the terrorists. Meanwhile, terrorists had made CCTV cameras dysfunctional and planted IEDs (improvised explosive devices) on all entry points leading to 4th floor,” the statement said.
Security forces made special entry points to get into fourth floor, shot down all terrorists and cleared planted IEDs, the statement added.
A few hours after the attack on Saturday, Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist organization of Baloch militants, claimed the attack in a tweet from an unverified Twitter account.
The BLA also released a picture of four people clad in security forces uniform, claiming them as the miscreants who attacked the hotel.
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack, saying that the attempt is an effort to sabotage the country’s economic projects and prosperity, and vowed that they will not allow such plans to succeed.
Saturday’s attack was the fourth major attack in Balochistan in less than a month. BLA and its allied groups claimed two of the four attacks during the period.
The earlier attack happened at Makran coastal highway in Gwadar district last month when about 15 to 20 militants stopped five passenger vehicles and killed 14 security personnel after identifying and off-loading them from the vans and letting the vehicles to leave with other civilian passengers.