QUETTA - Four terrorists were killed and several security personnel were wounded in an attack on heavily-guarded Samungli airbase and airport in Quetta Thursday night, officials said, but the attackers did not breach the perimeter.
The dead man was not immediately identified. He was killed near the Air Force base that shares a runway with the civilian airport .
Local residents heard at least 12 blasts and gunfire that continued for several hours. Helicopters buzzed overhead, they said.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti confirmed an attack had taken place. He said rockets had been fired but did not land in the base.
Four bombs were defused near another Air Force base in Quetta called Khalid, he said. He did not say who had carried out the attack .
Armed militants first fired rockets from a nullah near the airbase and then tried to storm the complex but were repulsed by security forces .
TV channels reported that firing was exchanged and hand grenades were also hurled towards the airbase and airport .
“At least four attackers have been killed while eight security personnel have been injured in the firing,” a senior police official said.
He said additional security forces had cordoned off the area while the injured had been rushed to the Bolan Medical complex in Quetta .
Shortly after the rockets were fired, security officials cordoned off the area around the airbase . A search operation was also initiated.
Police said they had surrounded six suspects in the area with whom they were exchanged fire. Officials claimed that two attackers were killed in the exchange of fire.
According to reports, the shootout took place after six armed men attempted to force their way into the facility.
ISPR chief Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa said that no armed men had managed to infiltrate the airbase .
Asim Bajwa said two rockets landed inside the airbase but no damages were incurred following the rocket attack .
Bajwa further added that the airbase is under the control of the security forces and the fleeing terrorists were encountered by police away from Samungli base.
The identity of the men killed following the attack has not been ascertained so far but officials said the two injured individuals are members of the police forces.
No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility for the attack .
Pakistan has suffered several recent attacks on its airports.
In June, a Taliban attack killed 30 people at the airport in Karachi.
The same month, militants fired on a plane landing in Peshawar, killing one woman passenger and narrowly missing the pilot. Peshawar airport was also attacked in 2012, when nine people were killed .
In 2012, nine people were killed in an attack on an Air force base in Kamra.
In recent days, the attention of security agencies has been focused on two large anti-government protests that are due to reach the federal capital on Friday (today).
Earlier in the day, a Frontier Corps (FC) man was killed and another was injured in a remote-controlled bomb blast near a security forces’ vehicle in the Hazar Ganji area of Quetta .
The attack occurred when a convoy of security forces was on routine patrolling near Sharifabad Chowk.
A security official requesting anonymity said unidentified assailants had planted a remote-controlled bomb in a heap of garbage on a roadside to target the forces’ convoy. “When the forces’ convoy reached the spot there was a huge blast,” he said.
The vehicle was completely destroyed as a result of the attack .
Security forces cordoned off the area as an investigation into the incident went under way, however, there was no claim of responsibility for the attack until filing of this report.
This incident came a day after a bomb blast killed one and injured nine others in Quetta .
Pakistan army has said that a gang of terrorists who burnt Ziarat Residency last year has been busted.
In a twitter message on Thursday, army spokesman Major-General Asim Bajwa posted, “Terrorists gang who burnt Ziarat Residency busted, arrested. No to escape of culprits, space for terrorists , resilience unmatched.”
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the renovated residency Thursday.
Ziarat Residency also known as Quaid-e-Azam Residency is located in Ziarat district of Balochistan. Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah spent the last two months and ten days of his life in Ziarat Residency.
In June last year, militants belonging to the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) targeted the Quaid-e-Azam Residency with rockets. The wooden parts of the building were badly affected as a result of the attack .