Militants Launch Deadly Assault on Pakistani Airbase

Posted August 16th, 2012 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Militants armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a large air force base in northern Pakistan Thursday, setting off a fierce battle that ended with one soldier and nine militants dead.

Pakistani officials say the pre-dawn assault at the Kamra base ended after a two-hour shootout that also wounded the base's commander. One aircraft was damaged.

Some of the militants were said to be wearing military uniforms as they breached the base's boundary wall and detonated explosives. Security forces later detonated small bombs that were found planted at the base.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The militant group has targeted a string of military bases in the past several years.

Pakistani military officials said the base, located about 60 kilometers northwest of Islamabad, has no links to the country's nuclear arsenal.

The facility is home to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, which builds fighter jets.

Also Thursday, authorities say suspected Sunni militants pulled passengers off buses in Pakistan's northwestern Chitral region and shot and killed 22 of them after learning they were Shi'ites. The buses were traveling from the the city of Rawalpindi to the northern city of Gilgit.

Such sectarian attacks are not uncommon in the region.