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Monday, May 23, 2011

Pak terror attack: Taliban destroys 2 planes, kills 7 personnel

Pak terror attack: Taliban destroys 2 planes, kills 7 personnel

Nearly 12 hours after storming Pakistan navy's key airbase in the heart of the port city of Karachi, heavily-armed Taliban militants were still holding onto parts of the base after destroying two US-made surveillance aircraft and killing seven security personnel.
Pakistan army's elite Special Service Group (SSG) and naval commandos backed by helicopters were hunting down a group of 15-20 militants who attacked the naval premises last night in the worst assault on a military base since the Army Headquarters was besieged in October 2009 in Rawalpindi.
Security forces were engaged in a deadly gun battle with armed militants since last night after the militants sneaked into the PNS Mehran, the naval air station within Faisal airbase, from three residential points adjacent to the air base.
Fifteen loud explosions were heard from the base, the headquarters of Pakistan's naval air arm, following the attack and intermittent firing was reported till this morning.
Pakistan Navy spokesperson Commodore Irfan-ul-Haq said seven people had been killed in the gun battle including six naval officers and a shooter of the para-military rangers.
"Six naval officers lost their lives in the battle with the militants while one officer of the rangers was also killed," Haq said and added that so far 14 security personal had been wounded in the gunbattle.
The security forces also killed four militants and have captured four alive, a senior security official said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who was sent to Karachi by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to monitor the situation, said the terrorists entered the airbase from three directions.
"A building in the premises is still under their control from where they are exchanging fire with soldiers," he said as the militants blew up two US supplied PC-3 Orion long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
"The situation is being tackled delicately to secure assets, minimise human losses and defeat the terrorists completely," he said, adding, "It is not just an attack on a navy establishment, it is an attack on Pakistan."
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has stepped up attacks on security installations since the May 2 death of Osama bin Laden, has claimed responsibility for the assault.
"We had already warned after Osama's martyrdom that we will carry out even bigger attacks," Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan told foreign agencies from an undisclosed location in northwest Pakistan.
He said the attackers sent into PNS Mehran naval base had enough supplies to survive a three-day siege.

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