Gunmen storming a five-star hotel in the southern Pakistani port city of Gwadar have killed at least one person, with a security operation to clear the area ongoing, authorities have said.
At least three gunmen attempted to enter the Pearl Continental hotel in Gwadar on Saturday afternoon, killing a security guard as they stormed the building, a statement released by Pakistan’s military said.
The attackers were surrounded by security forces in a staircase leading to the top floor of the building, the statement said.
There were conflicting reports about additional casualties from the attack.
The military, however, said that all guests at the hotel, which has 114 rooms, were safely evacuated.
Even as the security operation to clear the area was under way, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), an ethnic Baloch separatist group fighting for independence for Balochistan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Our fighters have carried out this attack on Chinese and other foreign investors who were staying in PC hotel,” said Jihand Baloch, a BLA spokesperson, in a statement.
Gwadar is the site of a major port built as the culmination of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a trade corridor that links southwestern China to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.