Gunshots were heard as a group of armed gunmen stormed a private five-star hotel in the southwestern Pakistani port-city of Gwadar, officials confirmed. At least one person has been killed in the incident.
At least three assailants entered the Pearl Continental, which reportedly hosted dozens of tourists, predominantly from China. The gunmen were said to be heavily armed, have a rocket launcher and are possibly wearing suicide vests.
Security forces have been deployed to the area, which was cordoned off.
The information minister of Balochistan (where Gwadar is located) told local Dunya News that all hotel visitors and staff were safely evacuated in the mayhem. However, the military said that a security guard, who challenged the attackers as they sought to force their way into the building, was killed in the ordeal.
The Army’s statement also said that the gunmen were surrounded by the security forces at the stairs leading to the top floor. The Pearl Continental is said to be frequented by foreign delegations, businessmen, and tourists visiting the port city.
A local terrorist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, has claimed responsibility for the attack on the hotel, according to some media reports, citing a statement from the militants. The incident comes less than a month after 14 people, including 11 military servicemen, were killed in another attack in Gwadar.
Just days ago, a suicide bombing attack rocked Pakistan’s second-largest city of Lahore, killing 10 people and injuring more than 20 others. The attacker targeted a police checkpoint near the major Sufi shrine. A Pakistan-based branch of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Gwadar is one of the major hubs involved in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project development and is often visited by Chinese nationals, local TV says.