Gunmen attack luxury hotel in Pakistan

Gunmen attack luxury hotel in Pakistan
By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters

One hotel guard is reported head as the Baluchistan Liberation Army claims responsibility.

Pakistani security forces killed three separatist insurgents who stormed a luxury hotel in the port city of Gwadar a day earlier, the military said on Sunday.

Officials said three gunmen dressed as military officers raided the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel on Saturday, killing three hotel security guards, an employee, and a navy soldier in a gun battle.

Security forces had cordoned off the area and cornered the attackers in a staircase leading to the top floor, the military said in its statement. All guests were taken out of the hotel while the military operation was underway.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army, a group fighting for greater autonomy in Pakistan's poorest province, claimed responsibility.

Gwadar is a strategic port on the Arabian Sea that is being developed as part of the 53 billion euro China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is itself part of China's mammoth Belt and Road infrastructure project.

The hotel, located on a hillside near the port, is used by foreign guests, including Chinese project staff, but there were none in the building at the time of the attack, said Langove.

Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a statement condemning the attack.

"Such attempts, especially in Balochistan are an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity," he said.

Pakistani officials have said the security forces were on alert for attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began in early May.

Security across most of Pakistan has improved over recent years following a major crackdown after the country's worst attack, when some 150 people, most of them children, were killed in an attack on a school in the western city of Peshawar in 2014.

But Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest province, remains an exception and there have been several attacks this year, with at least 14 people killed last month in an attack on buses travelling between the southern city of Karachi and Gwadar.

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