Pakistani militants take hostages in Karachi base revenge attack; ten soldiers killed

Monday, May 23, 2011

It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman

Pakistani militants killed ten soldiers and injured fifteen more during an attack on PNS Mehran, a military base in Karachi, in a revenge strike after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Commandos have cleared the base of militants; three of the attackers were reported also to have been killed. The militants reportedly took hostages inside the base but officials said they all had been rescued unharmed.

Military forces continued to fight off the militants on Monday morning, hours after the attack began the night before when as many as twenty militants stormed hangars at the base and used rocket-propelled grenades to destroy a number of military aircraft, including a P-3C Orion. Witnesses reported hearing a number of loud explosions and heavy gunfire as the militants continued to attack the base. "They were carrying guns, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades," a spokesperson for the Pakistan navy said. Yusuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, said the attack was a "cowardly act of terror".

Reports last night indicated hostages may have been taken at the base, but officials have confirmed all foreigners at the base are safe and any hostages taken have been freed. Commandos moved in after the attack begun and fighting continued throughout the night, and more loud explosions and gunfire were heard in the base on Monday morning.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack; a spokesperson said it was a revenge attack for the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces earlier this month. "It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden," the spokesperson said. "It was the proof that we are still united and powerful." The group warned after the death of bin Laden that they would attack Pakistani military targets.