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Preplanned and precise: How the terrorists engaged the naval base

Recreating the sequence of events, an unidentified number of armed men entered the Mehran Naval Base in Karachi from three different points on Sunday night, officials have confirmed. Imtiaz Ahmad reports.

world Updated: May 23, 2011 16:57 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

An unidentified number of armed men entered the Mehran Naval Base in Karachi from three different points on Sunday night, officials have confirmed. Recreating the sequence of events, it seems the militants met little or no resistance from the Navy guards and immediately fired at the standing Orion PC-3 aircraft, destroying two and possibly damaging one more.

The main entry point was the rear portion of the base which runs parallel to a sewage drain and is considered most vulnerable. It is believed that the attackers had done their homework and were working on inside information, as they were aware of where the target was and managed to complete their operation under 20 minutes.

However, their exit was blocked by navy guards who sealed the base with the help of paramilitary forces. By midnight, the base had been sealed, preventing the attackers from making their exit as planned.

In the ensuing firefight with Navy guards, two of the attackers were killed and the rest were forced into a main building at the base, where were holed up. It is believed that the attackers also shot dead two firemen who tried to extinguish the fire raging on the Orion aircraft.

The death toll till that pointhad been clocked at 12 with 14 injured.

Navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir confirmed that an operation was underway to flush out the terrorists and retake parts of the naval base. The operation was being led by the Navy's own marine force and backed up by a contingent of the Pakistan Army.