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12 terrorists killed in Quetta assault: Janjua

* Corps commander praises people of Balochistan for cooperating with security forces * Balochistan CM announces Rs 2 million each for injured security personnel * Two TTP factions claim responsibility for attack


QUETTA: Corps Commander Lieutenant General Nasir Khan Janjua on Friday said that 12 terrorists were killed who attacked two airbases in Quetta on Thursday night.
Whereas 11 security personnel were also injured in the attack, Janjua said. He told reporters at Khalid Airbase that the terrorists were kept outside the outer wall of the airbase.
“They were in two groups. Six militants attacked Samungli airbase and another six Khalid airbase,” he added.
Reporters were shown nine corpses and remains of three terrorists along with the weapons and explosives recovered during the search operation.
He also allowed media to see the rocket launchers, rocket- propelled grenades, automatic weapons, grenades and suicide vests. The barbed wires were cut by terrorists who tried to penetrate the bases.
“Army and government received information about possible attacks on the airbases before they were carried out. All the assets are safe,” Janjua stated. The injured include seven army soldiers, two police personnel, an ATF solider and an FC official. “There was intense firing which was followed by huge explosions till morning,” said a nearby resident. 
The bases are located in highly guarded areas with huge deployment of army personnel, security forces as well as police personnel where civilians and media are not allowed.
“It is good that terrorists could not succeed in damaging valuable national assets,” Janjua said, who monitored the operation, adding that all the attackers were killed.
“Police, Balochistan Levies, FC, Balochistan Constabulary and Pakistan Army showed classic example of coordination during the operation,” Janjua told the reporters in Quetta.
He urged the people to cooperate with security forces in this critical situation.
Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch, who was also present at the Khalid airbase, said attacks were expected and therefore, security forces were prepared for a befitted response.
Baloch announced Rs 2 million each for the injured security personnel.
“We should appreciate the security forces who manage to foil the attacks,” he told the reporters.
Balochistan IG Muhammed Amlish told media that the attacks could have resulted in loss of life and great damage to national assets, had the security forces not responded quickly.
“Security was already put on high alert,” he added.
Lt General Janjua said the people of Balochistan are cooperating with the security forces, which is commendable. “It is first time that security forces were informed by local people,” he stated.
To a question, he said that it could be a reaction of the military operation in North Waziristan. “The incident is being investigated and we are in contact with the army chief,” he said.
Quetta Police Chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema told media that the terrorists first launched an attack on Samungli Airbase before targeting Khalid Military Airbase around an hour later. Police had defused four bombs near the outer wall of Khalid Airbase, he said.
To launch a rapid response, the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) and Frontier Corps (FC) were mobilised, who tried to cordon off the attackers. During this process, the security forces were fired upon, injuring three officials who were shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH).
Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said the Quetta International Airport and Samungli Airbase are cleared and there was no attack. “The terrorists were near Killi Khezi, about half kilometer from airport, when they were stopped from moving towards airport,” Durrani told the media.
Terrorists carrying sophisticated weapons had attacked high security zones of Pakistan Air Force on Thursday night.
The attacks were carried out at Samungli and Khalid airbases.
Security officials said that the modus operandi was the same as that of the attacks on Karachi airport, Mehran Airbase and Peshawar airport.
The gunfight started at 8pm on Thursday night and the areas were cleared by 7am. Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said that the terrorists aimed at seizing the airbases, but the attack was thwarted.
Two factions of the banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attacks and said the attacks were a response to the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan.
The Fidaeen-e-Islam initially claimed responsibility via a phone call.
“The attacks were a revenge to military operation launched against us in North Waziristan,” FI commander Ghalib Mehsud said.
“We will launch more and bigger attacks on government and military installations.”
Later Azam Tariq, chief of TTP’s South Waziristan chapter and a former chief spokesman for the umbrella group, also claimed responsibility for the attack.

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