Members of Crime Scene Unit investigate around a car used by alleged gunmen at the main entrance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in Karachi on Monday. Reuters
Tariq Butt, Correspondent / Agencies
Security forces killed four terrorists who attempted to storm the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) compound in Karachi city in a gun and grenade attack on Monday morning.
According to a police statement, one sub-inspector and two private security guards were martyred in the attack. Seven people, including three police officials, have been injured, the statement said.
Police said that the terrorist attack on the stock exchange foiled by the timely action of the law enforcement forces.
Separatist insurgents from Balochistan province claimed responsibility, a senior counter-terrorism official, Raja Umar Khattab, told Reuters.
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) had claimed responsibility in a post on Twitter but Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the account. Spokesmen for the group were not available for comment.
"They had come to carry out an attack inside the building and take hostages inside," the director-general of the Sindh Rangers, a paramilitary force, Omer Ahmed Bukhari, told media, adding all attackers had been killed within eight minutes.
The police chief of Karachi, Ghulam Nabi Memon, told Reuters the gunmen attacked with grenades and guns after pulling up in a silver Corolla car.
Two guards and a policeman were killed and seven people were wounded, Deputy Inspector General of Police Sharjil Kharal told media.
Policemen secure an area around a body outside the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in Karachi on Monday. AFP
The attackers had Kalashnikovs, pistol and hand grenades that they used during the attack. They were wearing jackets. They reached the venue in a car that the police later impounded.The stock exchange building was cleared after a couple of hours of the attack. Operation in the adjoining area continues to search any hiding terrorist.
Stock exchange president Farrukh Khan said that normally 6,000-8,000 people are present in the building but due to COVID-19 much less persons were inside the premises.
Juice packets and some other eatables were recovered from the possession of the terrorists, who were wearing joggers.
Police and paramilitary soldiers stand guard near a body of an alleged gunman at the entrance of a building in Karachi. AFP
The terrorists entered the main gates of the building firing indiscriminately. The security guard and police and Rangers countered them. In the exchange of fire, the terrorists and others were killed.
Farrukh Khan said that the attackers could not make their way into the main building and the trading hall. He said the police and Rangers engaged them inside the main gate and outside of the building.
He said that the powerful action by the law enforcement agencies averted any major loss of life.
An aide to Pakistan's prime minister on national security matters, Moeed Yusuf, and the country's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, both said the attack was sponsored by hostile foreign elements.
"We locked ourselves in our offices," said Asad Javed, who works at a brokerage in the stock exchange building, which is in a high security zone that also houses the head offices of several banks.
Javed said he was on the ground floor when he heard gunfire and an explosion and people scattered for safety.
Police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said that five to six injured persons have been brought at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi for treatment.
BLA’s twitter account suspended after claiming KSE attack responsibility
The official twitter account of BLA has been suspended after it claimed responsibility of Karachi Stock Exchange attack that claimed lives of seven people including two civilians, four security guards and a police official.
As per details, the militant organisation had uploaded pictures of the four attackers who targeted the KSX earlier on Monday. Members included, Tasleem Baloch, Shehzad Baloch, Salman Hammal and Siraj Kungur who were killed in exchange of fire with security forces.
The long-overdue suspension comes after several twitter users in Pakistan reported the account following the tweet claiming responsibility of the attack.
It is not the first time the BLA has claimed responsibility for a terror attack in the country on its Twitter handle. It claimed responsibility for several attacks that also included strike on Chinese consulate in Karachi in 2018.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and military praised the swift response of the city's security forces, while the Karachi police released a video of one member from a provincial security unit describing the firefight.
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