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At least one dead after three gunmen storm luxury hotel in Pakistan

“There are reports of a few people sustaining minor injuries,” the home minister said.

The bay of Gwadar port, near where the hotel is located in southwest Pakistan's Gwadar.
The bay of Gwadar port, near where the hotel is located in southwest Pakistan's Gwadar.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

AT LEAST ONE person has been killed after three gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Gwadar, the centrepiece of a multi-billion dollar Chinese infrastructure project, the military said.

The gunmen shot dead a security guard at the entrance to the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel before entering, the army said. It was the second deadly attack to take place in a prominent Pakistani city this week.

“Security forces have cordoned area. Guests safely evacuated. Terrorists encircled by security forces in staircase leading to top floor. Clearance Operation in progress,” a military spokesman said.

Earlier, Ziaullah Langu, the home minister for Balochistan province where Gwadar is located, told AFP four gunmen had “opened fire” on the hotel.

“There are reports of a few people sustaining minor injuries,” the minister said.

Mohammad Aslam, the on-duty officer in Gwadar, said ambulances and rescue officers were waiting at a road leading to the hotel, and that he could hear gunfire but that the operation was coming to an end.

“There were no Chinese or Pakistani guests in the hotel,” he said, adding that only staff were present in the building, adding that at least three are believed to be injured.

A Baloch separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter.

The Pearl Continental, part of Pakistan’s largest five-star hotel chain, is the only luxury hotel in Gwadar, frequented by foreign and Pakistani business delegations as well as diplomats.

It sits isolated on a ridge overlooking the Arabian Sea port city of Gwadar, formerly a small fishing village but now touted by officials as “the next Dubai” thanks to the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) is one of a myriad of insurgent groups fighting in Balochistan, which has been rocked by separatist, Islamist and sectarian violence for years.

The BLA has targeted Chinese workers in Pakistan multiple times, including during a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi which killed four people in November last year. At the time, the BLA branded Beijing “an oppressor”.

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Foreigners are rarely allowed to travel to the province without seeking special authorisation.

Earlier this week a suicide blast claimed by the Pakistani Taliban at one of the country’s oldest and most popular Sufi shrines killed at least 12 people in the eastern city of Lahore.

Violence in Pakistan has dropped significantly since the country’s deadliest-ever militant attack, an assault on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in 2014 that killed more than 150 people – most of them children.

© AFP 2019 

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