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Pakistan foils militant attack on naval air base, kills all assailants

Pakistani security forces have killed five terrorists after they foiled a major attack on one of key naval facilities in the Balochistan province, authorities say.

The attack which took place on Monday on Pakistan’s second-largest naval air base PNS Siddique in the province’s Turbat city was the second assault by ethnic Baloch militants on a military facility in the past week.

“The armed men attacked from three sides of the airport boundary, but security forces responded immediately and foiled their attempt to infiltrate the premises,” Makran Commissioner Saeed Ahmed Umrani was quoted as saying by media.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper said the attack came after a series of explosions and firing in the city, which, according to residents, began at about 10 pm and continued for several hours.

“We escaped a huge loss,” said a statement from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s office.

A military statement said the militants killed at least one paramilitary soldier. According to a Pakistan Navy spokesman, all five attackers were killed after they tried to break into the base.

The officials said that there were no reports of any loss of “sensitive naval installations” at the station, while the Frontier Corps and the navy’s special group “successfully isolated the terrorists.”

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the most prominent of several separatist groups in Balochistan, claimed responsibility for the assault in a statement.

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The base is also where Chinese drones are stationed.

The BLA has previously engaged in assaults targeting Pakistani and Chinese interests in the region and other locations.

On Sunday, the BLA took responsibility for an assault on the Gwadar Port Authority Complex, resulting in the killing of all eight militants and two soldiers.

China has made significant investments in the resource-abundant southwestern province of Balochistan, which shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran.

The naval base is significant to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which also encompasses roads and energy projects and is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

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