9 militants killed in attack on Pak base
PAF spokesman Capt. Tariq Mahmood told reporters militants stormed the Minhas Airbase in Kamra after they scaled the boundary wall, triggering a five-hour clash that killed nine attackers and a security official.
A group of Pakistani Taliban, wearing security forces’ uniforms and armed with suicide vests and grenades, attacked the base in the wee hours of Thursday. A gun-battle ensued and a series of blasts were heard.
Located about 70 kilometres from Islamabad, the Minhas airbase is a heavily guarded compound, close to the PAF Kamra Aeronautical Complex, where JF-17 Thunder fighter jets are assembled and overhauls in collaboration with China.
Rocket-propelled grenades -- fired from outside the facility -- damaged one PAF aircraft, the air force said. Gunfire, rocket and hand grenade explosions were heard during the clashes.
Immediately after the incident, the Ministry of Interior ordered heightened security in and around all the airports and airbases of the country. Similarly, a security boost was also ordered in the capital Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the assault. “We are proud of this operation. Our leadership had decided long ago to attack the Kamra base,” the group’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said.
The body of a suicide bomber strapped with explosives was found close to the impact area. All Chinese and other foreign engineers involved in co-production of aircraft were shifted to a secure location.
Capt. Mahmood said base commander Air Commodore Muhammad Azam, who led the operation against the terrorists, was shot in the shoulder. However, he is said to in stable condition.
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