Pakistan’s army said Sunday that a militant raid in southwestern Baluchistan province had killed at least seven soldiers.
The pre-dawn attack in the Harnai district targeted a paramilitary Frontier Corps checkpoint. The casualties occurred during the ensuing “intense” exchange of fire with the “terrorists,” said a military statement.
“(The) area has been cordoned off and escape routes have been blocked to apprehend fleeing miscreants. A large-scale search and clearance operation is in progress,” the statement added.
Local police officials were reported as saying that several Pakistani soldiers were also injured, and the assailants managed to flee into nearby mountains.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the deadly attack. It came a day after a bomb explosion near a soccer field in the troubled province’s Panjgur district killed two spectators and wounded six others.
Baluchistan often experiences attacks on Pakistani security forces and state officials. The violence is blamed on separatist Baluch insurgents and other extremist groups operating in the natural resource-rich province.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the “terrorist attack” had “saddened” him. “My heartfelt condolences & prayers go to their families. Our nation stands with our courageous soldiers who face attacks from Indian backed terrorists,” Khan tweeted.
Saddened to hear of 7 brave soldiers martyrdom as a result of terrorist attack on FC post in Harnai Balochistan late last night. My heartfelt condolences & prayers go to their families. Our nation stands with our courageous soldiers who face attacks from Indian backed terrorists.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 27, 2020
Pakistan accuses rival India of supporting and funding Baluch separatists, charges New Delhi denies.