ISLAMABAD - Defence Minister Khwaja Asif on Wednesday said there was a strong possibility that Taliban militants who attacked a Karachi naval dockyard at the weekend had inside help, echoing the insurgents’ claims.

“We cannot rule out the inside help in this attack because without it the miscreants could not breach security,” the minister informed the joint session of the parliament.

“It is the result of blowback from the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan,” he added, referring to the army-led offensive in the northwestern tribal area that began in June. “Seven terrorists were arrested and three killed during the September 6 attack,” he said. One sailor was also killed.

Giving policy statement, Khwaja Asif said that one naval officer embraced martyrdom while fighting against the terrorists, while the installation remained unharmed due to quick response. He claimed that one of the attackers hailed from North Wazirsitan and another was a former Navy officer. Asif said that security forces seized five 9 MM pistols, Kalashnikov rifles, three walkie talkies, suicide bomb vests, handcuffs and religious books from the militants.

The Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had inside help. “We had support from inside the naval force for this attack. This operation was successful because of this support. We will continue targeting security forces like this in future also,” spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told a foreign news agency.

Pakistan’s military launched its North Waziristan offensive shortly after a brazen attack on Karachi airport that left dozens dead and extinguished a largely fruitless peace process with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The weekend raid was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks on key installations by the Taliban in recent years, including a 2011 assault on a naval base, also in Karachi, and on the military’s headquarters in 2009. The military said Wednesday it had killed 35 militants and destroyed three hideouts in fresh air strikes in the region.

Giving briefing about attack on Quetta’s Samangli airbase, the minister said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Pakistan Navy officers successfully countered attack of terrorists. “With night vision goggles they (terrorists) were traced,” he said adding security breach’s attempt was successfully foiled by brave officers.

Talking about the ongoing protest sit-ins of PTI and PAT against the government, the minister said, “Media should not support those (protesters) who are raising voice only to satisfy their ego... They (media) need to draw a line.”

ATTACKERS WANTED TO HIJACK PNS ZULFIQAR

Terrorists who attacked Pakistan Navy Dockyard in Kemari wanted to hijack PNS Zulfiqar, reliable sources told Online.

Crackdown has been started on the identification of terrorists while 17 accused have been arrested from Interior Sindh, Larkana and Jacobabad.

Former Officer of Pak Navy Awais Jakhrani was also among the attackers. At the night of September 6 security forces foiled the plan of terrorists and dockyard remained safe.

Investigative sources told that in uniform terrorists fired hundreds of bullets and used hand bombs, the weapons recovered from terrorists were the same as used in PNS Mehran and Karachi Airport attack.

Weapons have been sent to Islamabad for forensic test.

Sources told that Awais Jakhrani son of AIG Inspection Karachi Police Ali Shair Jakhrani was also involved in the attack.

Awais Jakhrani departed from his house for Islamabad 2 days earlier but died in the dockyard attack, sources told that he had also links with banned organisation.

Statements of security staff and injured personnel during action have been recorded.

On the other hand,police told that the case of the attack has not been registered.