Insiders involved in militants attack on Pakistani navy base: officials

Insiders involved in militants attack on Pakistani navy base: officials

Pakistani defence officials have told a parliamentary committee that insiders were involved in the attack on a country's major navy base last month which left 13 people including a young navy officer dead and 16 others injured. The militants destroyed two P-3C Orion aircraft, Xinhua reported.

Four terrorists were involved in the May 22 attack on the PNS Mehran base in Karachi which lasted 17 hours. All the attackers were killed. Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.

The National Assembly's standing committee on defence had an in-camera meeting on Wednesday and senior navy and air force officials said the information about involvement of insiders was based on findings of an internal inquiry committee.

Initially, there were discrepancies about the number of terrorists who had attacked the base. Interior Minster Rehman Malik had said they were six; four of them had been killed and two escaped. The report filed with the police on May 24 said that between 10 and 12 terrorists had stormed the naval base; four of them had been killed and the rest escaped.

The committee was informed that as many as eight navy personnel had been taken into custody on charges of abetting the terrorists who had attacked the Mehran base and court martial proceedings could be initiated against them after completion of investigation.

A senior member of the committee said three officers, one sailor and four other personnel had allegedly assisted the terrorists in the attack.

He said the inquiry committee was of the opinion that the large quantity of arms and ammunition and rocket launchers used in the attack could not be taken to the base by the four terrorists without any inside support.

According to members of the investigation team, CCTV footages clearly showed that the terrorists were standing in front of the compound where several foreign nationals were also staying. However, the commandos had succeeded in taking them out of the compound moments before the attack.

The naval authorities concluded that it was impossible to carry out the attack without help from insiders. The terrorists had stayed for three to four days in a locality close to the naval base. Some locals have also been included in the investigation.

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