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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Armed men storm Pakistan air base

Three men were killed before they entered the base, with three more attackers "cornered/isolated", a military statement said.

Armed men attacked a Pakistan Air Force training base on Saturday and damaged three aircraft, the military said, with a group affiliated with the Pakistan Taliban claiming responsibility.

Three men were killed before they entered the base, with three more attackers “cornered/isolated”, a military statement said.

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The Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), a newly emerged militant group that is an affiliate of the home-grown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement, claimed responsibility in a statement to media.

It comes after 14 troops were killed when their convoy came under attack in Balochistan province and six civilians died when a police van was targeted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, both on Friday.

The latest attack happened in the early hours of Saturday morning in the city of Mianwali, in central Punjab province, near the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa border.

“Due to the swift and effective response by the troops, it has been foiled and thwarted, ensuring the safety and security of personnel and assets,” the military statement said.

“However, during the attack, some damage to three already grounded aircraft and a fuel bowser also occurred.”

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Analysts say militant groups have become emboldened by the return to power of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan in 2021.

Pakistan regularly accuses its neighbour of harbouring militants who plan and launch attacks from Afghan soil, a charge the Taliban government denies.

Attacks in Punjab province, however, are rare.

The TTP movement shares a common hardline Islamist ideology with their Afghan counterparts.

They have largely focused on targeting security forces, with civilians sometimes caught up in the violence.

Meanwhile, Balochistan is home to a decades-long insurgency by ethnic Baloch guerrillas fighting the government over accusations of exploiting the province’s rich gas and mineral resources.