Gunmen Storm Pakistan’s Naval Aviation Base

By Faisal Aziz for Reuters

Gunmen attacked Pakistan’s naval aviation base on Sunday, starting fires, setting off explosions and fighting pitched gunbattles inside one of the country’s most heavily guarded military installations.

Officials said at least four people had been killed in the attack on PNS Mehran in the southern city of Karachi. Between 15 to 20 gunmen were inside and had attacked hangars housing aircraft, officials said. Witnesses said they could hear gunshots and see smoke rising from the base.

“They were equipped with sophisticated weapons,” navy spokesman Commodore Irfan ul-Haq told Reuters. Another spokesman said that one P-3C Orion, a maritime partrol aircraft, had been destroyed. “The attackers are still inside and intermittent firing is continuing.”

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the militants had attacked from the rear of the base. “We have been able to confine them to one building and an operation is underway either to kill or capture them.” The Karachi attack evoked memories of an assault on Pakistan’s army headquarters in the town of Rawalpindi in 2009, and revived concerns that even the most well-guarded installations in the country remain vulnerable to militants.

Taliban militants, who have vowed to avenge the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces, have carried out several attacks since his death on May 2.

Officials said the gunmen had attacked three hangars housing aircraft. Nine explosions were reported from the base, with jet fuel tanks possibly catching fire and exploding. Almost three hours after the start of the attack, gunbattles between presumed militants and commandos continued.

A least a dozen ambulances were parked outside the base, waiting to take wounded to hospital. Pakistani military and paramilitary reinforcements were pouring in, with four vehicles carrying about 10 troops each moving into the base. An intelligence official said four people had been killed and five wounded in the Karachi raid.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the “terrorist” attack. “Such a cowardly act of terror could not deter the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan to fight terrorism,” Gilani said in statement.

Pakistan has faced a wave of bombings and gun assaults over the last few years, some of them claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban. Others have been blamed on al Qaeda-linked militant groups once nurtured by the Pakistani military which have since slipped out of control.

The discovery that bin Laden was living in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, not far from the Pakistan Military Academy, has also revived suspicions that militants may be receiving help from some people within the security establishment.

Pakistan and the United States say the senior leadership in the country did not know bin Laden was in Abbottabad.

On April 28, suspected militants detonated a roadside bomb in Karachi, killing four members of the navy, the third attack on the navy in a week. The attack came two days after two bombs hit buses carrying navy personnel, killing four people and wounding 56. Taliban insurgents took responsibility for the twin attacks.

  1. One more attack on the sovereignty of the country in this month and Anti-Pakistan forces created this mess to prove that Pakistan is a fail state and our strategic assets are vulnerable to the hands of terrorists. Us media is vocal about the risks of nuclear assets in this safe heaven for terrorist neglecting deliberately the 9/11 misadventure in their country. What about risks for their own strategic assets? Pakistan must beef up its security system all over the country and counter these acts of terrorism with more terror.
    We must not forget that it’s the only country Pakistan which has served most the world’s war on terrorism and suffered considerably very high. Pakistani people are peace loving except the small bunch of ignorant ones. Also Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Tolerance holds high regard in the Islamic scriptures. We Muslims have a very good sense of humanity and life. We believe strongly that if our friend is going to break into our house to kill us, we will arm ourselves in defense instead of going into his house to kill him before he kills us just like Americans do.
    Survival requires to get out of this mess and build trust relationship with China and Iran. Also we must cut supply chain of NATO and seal pak-afghan border now as our involvement is our biggest national problem.
    20 insurgents stormed PNS Mehran. At least 8 navy and two rangers’ personnel were martyred in the attack. Four insurgents were also killed in the assault.
    Read More Here

    • I understand your sentiments. Pakistan has definite issues with the cards it has been dealt. But one must take ownership also of one’s own actions. And I can tell you that we have a twisted vision of what Islam is and should be. It is due to the petrodollars from the Gulf Arabian countries that helped finance the Wahhabi ideology of extremism. Let u hope that the day comes when the nation that has suffered for so long attain peace. Please join us on Facebook on our page. Thanks for visiting and come again. See you on Facebook and please invite others. Shukria~ MM

  1. May 23rd, 2011
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