Roundup: 3 militants among 8 killed in SW Pakistan's hotel attack

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ISLAMABAD, May 12 (Xinhua) -- At least eight people including three militants, four civilians and a navy person were killed and six others injured when three militants stormed a five-star hotel in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province on Saturday, a military statement said Sunday.

The suspects attempted entry into Pearl Continental Hotel located in Gwadar district of the province with an aim to target and take hostage the guests in the hotel, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistani military's media wing, said in the statement.

"Security guards at the entry challenged terrorists denying them the entry into main hall and terrorists went to staircase leading to upper floors," the ISPR said, adding that the militants kept on firing indiscriminately while moving to staircase, killing and injuring hotel staff.

Quick reaction forces of the army, the navy and the police immediately reached the hotel and evacuated guests and staff present in the hotel besides restricting the terrorists within the corridor of the fourth floor of the five-storey hotel.

"After ensuring safe evacuation of guests and staff, clearance operation was launched to take on terrorists. Meanwhile, terrorists had made CCTV cameras dysfunctional and planted IEDs (improvised explosive devices) on all entry points leading to 4th floor," said the statement.

Security forces made special entry points to get into 4th floor, shot down all terrorists and cleared planted IEDs, the statement added.

A few hours after the attack on Saturday, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist organization of Baloch militants, claimed the attack in a tweet from an unverified Twitter account.

The BLA also released a picture of four people clad in security forces uniform, claiming them as the miscreants who attacked the hotel.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack, saying that the attempt is an effort to sabotage the country's economic projects and prosperity, and vowed that they will not allow such plans to succeed.

Saturday's attack was the fourth major attack in Balochistan in less than a month. BLA and its allied groups claimed two of the four attacks that hit the province during the period.

The earlier attack happened at Makran coastal highway in Gwadar district last month when about 15 to 20 militants stopped five passenger vehicles and killed 14 security personnel after identifying and off-loading them from the vans and letting the vehicles to leave with other civilian passengers.

Following the attack, militant group BRAS, formed with the alliance of BLA and two other Baloch nationalist groups warned of more attacks on the economic interests of Pakistan.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the BRAS militants have their settlements including training camps across Pakistan-Iran border, in Iran, and they escaped back to the country after carrying out the attack in Balochistan.

He said that his country shared actionable intelligence with Iran and is awaiting positive response from Iranian authorities, who assured them to take action against the militants after investigations.

The other attack that hit Balochistan during the last one month targeted an ethnic community of minority Shiite Muslims in provincial capital of Quetta. The attack left 20 people killed and scores others injured.

In a separate explosion in Balochistan earlier this week three people including a tribal elder were killed in a remote-controlled explosion. Enditem

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