Peshawar (PTI): At least 42 people, including 13 militants, were killed today when heavily armed Taliban terrorists in military uniforms launched a brazen attack on a Pakistan Air Force base and a mosque inside the compound, in one of the deadliest assaults on a defence facility.
A group of gunmen wearing explosives-laden jackets and armed with grenades, mortars, AK-47 rifles attacked a guard post as they tried to fight their way into the Badaber air base 6 kilometres outside Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
At least 16 people offering prayers at a mosque inside the air force camp were shot dead by the militants, military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said.
Addressing a press conference he said that seven other people were killed in the ablution area of the mosque.
An army captain was also among 29 people killed in the attack on the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base and a mosque inside it, Geo TV reported.
Two junior PAF technicians were also killed in the attack, a PAF spokesperson said, adding that both airmen were deployed at the guardroom when the attack occurred.
All 13 terrorists were killed by security forces, Bajwa said adding that several of those killed were offering prayers at the mosque. He said that the terrorists were dressed in constabulary uniforms.
Terrorists entered the base at two points, splitting into sub-groups, sparking a fierce gunbattle with security forces, he said.
At least 22 people, including eight soldiers and two senior army officers, were injured in the attack.
The injured have been shifted to a military hospital in Peshawar and two have been taken to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). An emergency has been declared in both hospitals.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Our suicidal unit carried out the attack,” TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said in an email statement.
Khurasani claimed that 80 security personnel were surrounded by the militants and 50 of them killed but it was not confirmed. He also claimed that women and children were given safe exit which was also not confirmed.
Bajwa said security forces reached the area shortly after and sealed it off but a gun battle is still underway.
“Clearance ops still underway. Searching for hidden terrorists,” Bajwa tweeted.