Gunmen attack Pakistan air force base in Peshawar, eight militants killed
Peshawar (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least eight militants have been killed in an attack on a Pakistani air force base in Peshawar, officials say. Up to 10 gunmen attacked a guard post and then entered the Badaber air base, Major General Asim Bajwa said. He said security forces had surrounded the area and a hunt was on for the remaining gunmen.
In an email to reporters, the Pakistani Taliban said they ordered the attack. Pakistani Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said a "suicidal unit" had carried out the attack.
Peshawar has frequently been targeted by militants. Last December more than 150 students and teachers were killed when Taliban gunmen attacked an army-run school in the city.
Gen Bajwa said a rapid response force engaged the attackers and contained them around a guard room. Ten soldiers, including two officers, had been injured in the exchange of fire, he said, but added that "clearance operations" were now in progress.
In the recent past, Peshawar saw a number of bloody attacks against mosques and churches.
Many still remember the massacre on 22 September 2013 in the city's All Saints Anglican Church, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the building, killing more than 140 people with 161 wounded.
Likewise, last January a bomb hit a mosque during a prayer service for peace and religious coexistence, with dozens of dead and wounded.
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.
About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Since Taliban violence began in 2007, about 6,800 people have died in various attacks, including bombings and targeted killings.