KARACHI: Heavily armed militants stormed the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Kamra airbase located in Attock, Punjab during the early hours of Thursday, DawnNews reported.
Commandos of the Army and PAF were engaged an intense gun battle with the attackers. The militants were said to be heavily armed with automatic weapons, grenades and suicide vests. Intense exchange of fire between militants and forces was still underway at the time of this report.
A PAF spokesman confirmed that one gunman, who was wearing a suicide vest, has been shot dead and his body taken into custody by security officials. The spokesman, however, declined to give any further details.
It is not known if there are any casualties from the attack from far.
Sources said that up to ten militants were estimated to have attacked the base from Pind Salman Makhan village at around 2:30 am. According to one source, the attackers were wearing military uniforms when they entered the base. When security officials at the check-post attempted to halt them, the militants opened fire. The report, however, could not be confirmed from official sources.
Karma airbase is a heavily guarded compound with the Pakistan Air Force’s Kamra Aeronautical Complex in its vicinity, where Pakistan assembles and overhauls fighter jets in collaboration with China. Located about 70 kms from the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the base is known to house the PAF’s JF-7 Thunder and Mirage jets.
Sources confirmed that at least 30 aircraft were on the base.
In recent weeks, military intelligence had warned of the possibility of such an attack on military installations. However, there was no specific information about an attack being targeted at the Kamra base.
This is not the first time that Kamra has been the target of a terrorist attack. On Oct 23, 2009, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra. Two security officers and six other people were killed in the attack.
—Zahir Shah Sherazi and Mubashir Zaidi contributed to this report.