Baloch militants attack Pak naval air base in Balochistan; bid foiled & 4 terrorists killed

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Armed Baloch militants tried to infiltrate one of the main naval air bases in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, but security forces foiled the attack and killed all four terrorists. The attack on Monday night took place in Turbat, a turbulent district in the sparsely populated province. Makran Commissioner Saeed Ahmed Umrani told the media that security forces had foiled an armed terrorist attack at the PNS Siddique Naval Air Base which is among the biggest naval air stations in the country.

“The armed men attacked from three sides of the airport boundary, but security forces responded immediately and foiled their attempt to infiltrate the premises,” he said. Eyewitnesses reported they had heard gunfire and explosions throughout the night. According to a statement by the army, terrorists on the night of March 25/26 attempted to attack Pakistan Naval Base, PNS Siddique in the Turbat area of Balochistan province.

However, it was thwarted due to the swift and effective response by the troops ensuring the safety and security of personnel and assets. “Security forces in the vicinity were immediately mobilized to support the naval troops. Synergetic and effective response by the armed forces enabled the killing of all four terrorists in ensuing joint clearance operation,” the army said. However, during an intense fire exchange, a 24-year-old Sepoy of the paramilitary Frontier Corps Balochistan was killed.

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A security official said on condition of anonymity that terrorists were unable to cause any damage at the airbase or to aeroplanes. No loss of sensitive naval installations was reported, the official said. A sanitisation operation was being conducted to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area and Pakistan Armed Forces were committed to eliminating the menace of terrorism from the country at all costs. The banned Balochistan Liberation Army claimed that its Majeed Brigade was behind the attack.

This is the third major attack on security forces and installations this year in Balochistan claimed by the BLA with the first two attacks being also being repulsed by security forces. Earlier in the year, security forces were attacked in Mach town in which at least ten people were killed but attempts to breach the Mach jail were thwarted by security forces. On March 24, the BLA also claimed responsibility for an attack on the Gwadar Port Authority Complex.

Security forces had killed eight militants of the banned separatist group in the gunfire. Balochistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is home to a long-running violent insurgency. Baloch insurgent groups have previously carried out several attacks targeting the USD 60 billion CPEC projects. The BLA accuses China and Islamabad of exploitation of the resource-rich province, a charge rejected by the authorities.

BLA’s Majeed Brigade, which was formed in 2011, is a particularly lethal guerilla cell of the BLA. It has been alleged that the group also maintains sanctuaries in areas along the Pakistan-Iran border. The brigade, which is the suicide squad of the BLA, mostly targets security forces and Chinese interests in Pakistan. It had also claimed responsibility for the April 2022 suicide attack outside the Karachi University’s Confucius Institute.