Gunmen, Security Guard Dead After Pakistan Forces End Hotel Attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (dpa/TNS) -
pakistan hotel
A March 2019 view of the five-star Zaver Pearl Continental hotel, known as the Pearl Continental, on a hill in the southwestern Pakistani city of Gwadar. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

An hours-long gun battle between Pakistani security forces and gunmen who stormed a luxury hotel in the port of city of Gwadar has ended, with all the perpetrators killed, an official said late Saturday.

One security guard was killed in the attack on the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar, a port city on the Arabian Sea in the state of Balochistan that is being used as part of a Chinese trade route to the Middle East and Europe.

“The attack is over. All the terrorists and a security guard were killed,” provincial home minister Zia Langov said after the assault, which started at around 5 p.m.

All the guests at the hotel, which is frequented by Pakistani businessmen and foreigners, were evacuated shortly after the attack began, the military said in a statement.

A group of ethnic Baloch separatists claimed responsibility for the attack, their second in the region in less than a month.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which seeks secession for Pakistan’s largest province, told dpa they sent four gunmen to the hotel.

The group, which was also behind a deadly attack on Karachi’s Chinese consulate in November, said they had been targeting Chinese workers and Pakistani security forces.

All four attackers were killed by military commandos after they ran out of ammunition, a source in a security agency told dpa. Earlier on Saturday, officials said that there were three attackers.

The gunmen lobbed hand grenades at guards at the entrance before opening fire, killing one of them and making their way inside the building, the military said.

Violence by militants has seen a surge in recent weeks. The attack occurred just weeks after nationalist insurgents killed 14 bus passengers including naval officers in the same region.

Also, late on Saturday, the Pakistani Taliban said they targeted a convoy of security forces in Balochistan with a roadside bomb, killing unspecified number of troops.

No government official was immediately available to confirm the Islamist militants’ attack.