An insurgent attack at a luxury hotel on Pakistan’s south-west coast has killed a special forces soldier, a hotel security guard and three staff members, the country’s military has said.
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 military concluded a painstaking operation to clear the hotel and defuse explosive devices left behind by the attackers on Sunday.
The gunmen failed to take any guests hostage, but the hotel workers and guard were killed as the insurgents stormed the building. The military said six people, including two soldiers, were also wounded.
Pakistan’s 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.
The Baloch Liberation Army, a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing photos of what it said were the gunmen.
The BLA carried out a dozen attacks last year against Chinese-linked projects. In November, the group attacked a Chinese consulate in Karachi, triggering a shootout that led to the deaths of two police officers, two civilians and all three insurgents.
Beijing is financing tens of billions of dollars of projects in Pakistan and is currently helping build a modern port in Gwadar, 373 miles (600km) west of Karachi. The Pearl Continental is located near the port.