Five killed in attack on luxury Pakistan hotel, military says
Pakistan – Five people including a soldier were killed after gunmen stormed a five-star luxury hotel in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, the military said Sunday.
The attack on Pearl Continental in the strategic port city of Gwadar left four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier dead on Saturday. Six others were injured, including two army captains, two navy soldiers, and two hotel employees.
The military said that all three attackers, who planned to take hotel guests hostage, had been killed.
According to a statement from the media wing of Pakistan’s Armed Forces, the gunmen forced their way into the hotel’s main hall, killing a security guard and firing indiscriminately as they attempted to reach the upper floors of the building.
Military forces were able to reach the hotel, secure guests and restrict the attackers to the fourth floor, before killing them.
A Pakistani separatist group claimed responsibility, warning of more attacks in China and Pakistan in a post on an unverified Twitter account. CNN could not independently confirm whether the account, which claims to belong to the Balochistan Liberation Army, is authentic.
Gwadar is at the center of China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road infrastructure project. Its port on the Arabian Sea is a major link in the initiative, and has transformed the once-small fishing village overlooking it into a heavily fortified town touted as “the next Dubai.”
The hotel, on a hillside near the port, is frequented by foreign guests, diplomats and business delegations.
The Chinese embassy in Islamabad condemned the attack and hailed the “heroic action of Pakistani army and law enforcement agencies” in a post on Twitter.
Security forces in Pakistan have been on alert for attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began in early May.
Pakistan’s security has improved since a deadly assault on a school in 2014, but Balochistan remains a flashpoint. At least 14 people were killed in an attack on two buses last month near the town of Omara, also in Balochistan; an alliance of Baloch separatists, Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), claimed responsibility for the killings.