Pakistani security forces have reportedly killed three to four armed insurgents who stormed the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar.
Local correspondents Dawn News and Pakistan Today broke the news on Saturady by reporting that three to four ‘terrorists’ had stormed the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel in the port city of Gwadar, killing a security guard.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing, ‘terrorists’ had attempted to force their way into the hotel “dressed as military officers”, the ABC reported.
The gunmen were challenged by the security guard, who was fired upon and lost his life.
Reuters later reported that a further two hotel security guards, an employee and a navy soldier had been killed in the ensuing gun battle.
A military clearance operation was launched following the incident.
“Security forces have cordoned off the area and encircled the terrorists on the stairs leading to the top floor,” the ISPR said, as reported by Dawn News, adding that guests had been safely evacuated from the hotel.
However, according to Pakistan Today’s report, the on-duty officer in Gwadar, Mohammad Aslam, said there were no guests in the hotel at the time, commenting that “only staff were present in the building”.
Reuters reported that the insurgents had been holed up on the top floor of the hotel after security forces arrived.
The forces cleared all guests from the premises while cornering the attackers in a staircase.
The military later said in a statement that security forces had completed their “clearance operation”, adding that all three attackers had been killed.
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) insurgent group, which says it is fighting what it sees as the unfair exploitation of the province’s natural resources, claimed responsibility.
BLA reportedly said in a statement the attack was aimed at “Chinese and other foreign investors”.
In a social media post following the incident, the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan condemned the terrorist attack in Gwadar on Saturday and expressed its condolences for the families of the security guard who lost his life.
Chinese Embassy strongly condemns terrorist attack on PC Hotel in Gwadar. The heroic action of Pakistani Army & law enforcement agencies is highly appreciated. We express condolences to the families of the security guard who sacrificed his life &two security men who were injured.
— Chinese Emb Pakistan (@CathayPak) May 11, 2019
It has not been confirmed whether the two injured security guards mentioned in the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan’s post were among those reportedly killed in the gun battle.