Islamabad, May 12 (IANS) At least five people lost their lives in a terror attack targeting a five-star hotel in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar in Balochistan province, the Army’s media wing said on Sunday as it announced the conclusion of its clearance operation of the establishment.
Four hotel employees — three staffers and a security guard — as well as a Navy soldier were killed, while six people, including two Army captains, two Navy soldiers and two hotel employees were injured as gunmen stormed the Pearl Continental hotel on Saturday, the ISPR said in a statement.
The attack was claimed by the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army and the clearance operation at the hotel continued until late at night.
The Army on Sunday announced that security forces had completed the operation at the hotel in which all three terrorists were killed, Dawn online reported.
According to authorities, the gunmen attacked the hotel in Gwadar with the intention of taking hostages, but they were challenged by the hotel’s security guards.
Staff raised the alarm “denying them entry into the main hall and the terrorists went to the staircase leading to upper floors”, the ISPR said, adding that the armed men “kept firing indiscriminately” and killed four hotel employees.
According to the ISPR, the gunmen were barricaded in a corridor on the fourth floor by the swift arrival of the Pakistani armed forces. Army and Navy officers then proceeded to evacuate residents of the hotel and the staff.
Authorities said the terrorists had made the CCTV cameras dysfunctional and planted IEDs at all entry points leading to the fourth floor. But the security forces “made special entry points to get into fourth floor, shot down all terrorists and cleared planted IEDs”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan termed the attack as a bid to “sabotage prosperity” in the area.
A hotel spokesman said there were no guests (at the time of the attack) and few staff were present due to Ramzan. However, earlier reports said that hotel guests had been evacuated safely.
The terror group said that the hotel — the centrepiece of a multi-billion dollar Chinese project — was selected in order to target Chinese and other investors.
The hotel sits on a hilltop overlooking the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, which is being developed by China as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a network of roads, rail lines and pipelines between the two countries.