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Monday, April 15, 2024

Karachi stock exchange attacked, BLA accepts responsibility

The attackers had hand grenades with them. Two of them were killed at the gate, and two were killed further inside the building complex. A banned organization was quick to accept responsibility.

At least two people were killed and three were injured in a grenade attack at the PSX (Pakistan Stock Exchange) building on Monday. Responsibility was later accepted by the out-lawed BLA or the Baloch Liberation Army.

Gunmen attacked the Pakistani stock exchange building in the city of Karachi and four assailants were killed, police said.

BLA takes responsibility of attack on PSX building

The Baloch Liberation Army armed group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released while the security operation to clear the building was ongoing.

“Majeed brigade of Baloch Liberation Army today has carried out a self-sacrificing attack on Karachi stock exchange,” read the statement, emailed to Al Jazeera.

The southwest province of Balochistan – Pakistan’s largest – has seen a decades-long rebellion by the Baloch ethnic minority for independence.

Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security, Moeed Yusuf, confirmed while talking to a news channel that the attack was part of Indian designs.

PSX office is located in Karachi’s business district

The gunmen attacked the PSX building with grenades and guns, media reported. The building is in a high-security zone and also houses the head offices of many private banks.

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Four attackers stormed the building at 10am (05:00 GMT) Monday morning as trading began, carrying hand grenades and firing automatic rifles.

All four attackers had been killed by police and security forces responding to the attack, said Faisal Edhi, head of the Edhi charity and ambulance service which serves the city.

“The attackers had hand grenades with them. Two of them were killed at the gate, and two were killed further inside the building complex,” said Edhi, whose office is located opposite the PSX in Karachi’s main commercial district.

“We were hearing explosions going off [from our building],” he said.

The dead include the four attackers, a policeman and two civilians, said Edhi. Seven others had also been wounded in the attack, he said.

Search operation ongoing in the surrounding area of attack

A clearance operation is underway in the vicinity. According to unconfirmed reports, the attackers have been killed.

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“Four attackers have been killed, they had come in a silver Corolla car,” Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters.

Initial reports said that three to four attackers entered the PSX building in Karachi after 9am and opened fire. A grenade attack was carried out at the entrance.

According to rescue services the number of casualties may increase. Edhi Foundation’s chief Faisal Edhi is also at the site along with rescue services.

Police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said that five to six injured have been brought at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi for treatment from the PSX building in Karachi.

Sindh Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar demanded a report of the incident from the DIG South. It was not immediately clear if there are more assailants at large.

Uptick in violence seen in Sindh even before PSX incident

This attack can also be seen in the context of the recent increase in violent activities and the surfacing of the “Sindh Republican Army”.

Last week, Rangers personnel were martyred in interior Sindh, after which the SRA was banned. It is said that the SRA has roots in the London faction of MQM.

The recent wave of incidents has become rare after a thorough operation was started in 2015 under the leadership of Sindh Rangers and Karachi police.