An insurgent attack at a luxury hotel on Pakistan’s south-west coast killed five people, including a special forces soldier, a hotel security guard and three staff members, the country’s military said on Sunday after concluding a painstaking operation to clear the hotel and defuse explosive devices left behind by the attackers.
The statement clarified that three gunmen not four as initially reported had been killed during the eight-hour gunfight with security forces on Saturday inside the Pearl Continental hotel in the city of Gwadar.
The attackers failed to take any guests hostage, but the hotel staff and guard were killed as the insurgents stormed the building. The military said six people, including two soldiers, were also wounded.
Prime minister Imran Khan called the attack an act of terrorism and praised the “initial response by security guards and security forces” for preventing greater loss of life.
A Baluch separatist group, the Baluch Liberation Army, claimed responsibility Saturday for the attack, releasing photos of insurgents it said took part.
The Baluch Liberation Army carried out a dozen attacks last year against Chinese-linked projects. In November, the group attacked a Chinese consulate in the major southern city of Karachi, triggering a shootout that killed two police officers, two civilians and all three insurgents.
Beijing is financing tens of billions of dollars’ worth of mega-projects in Pakistan and is currently helping build a modern port in Gwadar, 373 miles (600km) west of Karachi. The Pearl Continental hotel is located near the port.