Karachi: Militants attacked a Pakistani naval aviation base on Sunday, killing at least four people, officials said, the latest attack on a heavily guarded military installation in Pakistan.
Senior police official Tahir Naveed said attackers were inside the Mehran base in Karachi fighting with base personnel. An intelligence official said four people had been killed and five wounded.
Witnesses said they could hear sounds of gunshots and see smoke rising from the base. Officials said between 15 and 20 attackers were inside the base, and had attacked three hangars housing aircraft.
Al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants, who have vowed to avenge the killing of leader Osama bin Laden by US special forces, have carried out several attacks since his death on 2 May.
The Karachi attack evoked memories of an assault on Pakistan’s army headquarters in the town of Rawalpindi in 2009, and revived concerns that even the most well guarded institutions in the country remain vulnerable to militants.
Pakistan has faced a wave of bombings and gun assaults over the last few years, some of them claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban.
Others have been blamed on al Qaeda-linked militant groups once nurtured by the Pakistani military which have since slipped out of control.
A US forces raid on 2 May which found and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad has also revived suspicions that militants may be receiving help from some people within the security establishment.
Pakistan and the United States say the senior leadership in the country did not know bin Laden was in Abbottabad.
On 28 April suspected militants detonated a roadside bomb in Karachi, killing four members of the navy, the third attack on the navy in a week.
The attack came two days after two bombs hit buses carrying navy personnel, killing four people and wounding 56. Taliban insurgents took responsibility for the twin attacks.