A terror attack targeting the Chinese Consulate situated in Karachi’s Clifton area was foiled by security forces on Friday, leaving at least seven people dead including all three terrorists.
Two policemen lost their lives due to multiple injuries caused by explosive material and two civilians, a father and son, named Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim, were also killed in the attack, Dr Jamali said.
“Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim hailing from Quetta were visiting the embassy to apply for Chinese visas were killed in the attack,” police officials said. A private security guard was injured in the blast. The police officers were identified as Assistant Sub Inspector Ashraf Dawood and Constable Amir, while the private security guard was identified as Muhammad Juman.
The heavily-guarded E-Street neighbourhood, which is considered a red zone, is home to a number of upscale restaurants, diplomatic missions and schools. The schools and eateries were locked down while a clearance operation was initiated.
Gunshots and multiple blasts were heard in the area between 9:30am and 10am. Images from the area showed smoke rising from the Chinese Consulate building, which also serves as the residence for Chinese diplomats and other staff.
The attackers first opened fire at a checkpost, then detonated a hand grenade in the area. Additional Inspector General Amir Shaikh said that the attackers had parked their vehicle at some distance from the embassy before moving towards it.
Defence analyst and security contractor Ikram Sehgal, whose company’s guards have been posted at the consulate, said that the attackers engaged in an exchange of fire with policemen. After the policemen were martyred, he said, the attackers proceeded towards the gate of the consulate. However, the guards were quick to usher civilians with consular business into the building and shut the gates behind them. Chinese staff at the embassy were taken to a main building, Sehgal added.Muhammad Ashfaq, a police official said that the attackers opened fire at the consulate guards and then managed to breach the main gate and enter the building.
Shortly after, the Rangers arrived in the area and an hour-long exchange of fire took place between security forces and the attackers, leaving three terrorists killed. Weapons and explosive materials were recovered from the attackers, police said.
Deputy Inspector General South Javed Alam Odho told media that at least one attacker had been wearing a suicide vest which did not detonate. Three suspected suicide bombers were killed before they were able to enter the facility as forces successfully foiled the attack, Karachi Police Chief Dr Amir Shaikh said. “There were three attackers and all three have been killed… They could not even get in the compound. They tried to get into the visa section,” he said while speaking to the media outside the consulate.
“The men came to the consulate in a car which was loaded with explosives,” he added.
The three terrorists have been identified as Raees Baloch, Azal Khan Marri alias Sangat Dada and Abdul Razzaq Deen Muhammad.
Investigation report further revealed that Abdul Razzaq Deen Muhammad is an employee of Balochistan government. Sindh government will approach Balochistan government in this regard.
Police said that all Chinese staffers “are safe and secure”. At 12:15pm, a Rangers spokesman told journalists that the search operation had been completed.
He added that all diplomatic staff is secure, and praised the Rangers, Police and FC personnel for their quick response to the attack.
Sindh police chief Syed Kaleem Imam and Chief Minister Murad Shah both reached the Chinese Consulate following the terror attack. Imam briefed the Chinese consul general about the combined operation conducted by security forces. He also congratulated Assistant Superintendent Police Suhai Aziz Talpur – who has been handed the charge of SP – for running the successful security operation which foiled the attack.
Baloch Liberation Army, a pro-India militant organization, later claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the group told media organizations by phone that all three suicide bombers who tried to enter the Chinese Consulate and were killed belonged to BLA.
BLA also released pictures of all three terrorists claiming they were from its ‘fidayeen’ group. While presiding over a special law and order meeting, Shah directed law enforcement agencies to speed up intelligence-based targeted operation against terrorists in the metropolis.
Shah raised concerns over the fact that the terrorists equipped with weapons and explosives stayed somewhere in the city, then travelled from the place of their stay to Clifton but were not checked anywhere. “This shows that our road checking system needs to be stricter and more effective,” he said and directed AIG Shaikh to conduct snap checking in the city.
The chief minister directed IGP Imam to look after the families of the two policemen who valiantly laid down their lives in the line of duty and also make necessary arrangements for shifting of the bodies of both the civilians to Quetta, their home town. The military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, said: “Terrorists attempted to enter Chinese consulate. Rangers and police have got control. Three terrorists killed. All Chinese safe. Situation under control.”
Nine hand grenades, Kalashnikov bullets, magazines and explosives were recovered from the possession of the terrorists, police said. “Food supplies and medicines were also recovered from their possession,” officials added.