Pakistan 4 Killed In Attack On Karachi Stock Exchange


Pakistan 4 Killed In Attack On Karachi Stock Exchange

Islamabad, Pakistan – Four people were killed after gunmen stormed the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) compound in the southern city of Karachi in an attack claimed by ethnic Baloch separatists that has set off an international row after Pakistan blamed India for supporting the attackers.

Four gunmen attempted to attack the stock exchange building at approximately 10am (05:00 GMT) on Monday morning, firing indiscriminately as they dismounted from their car and charged towards a security barrier at the compound’s entrance.

Two attackers were killed at that barrier, security officials said, while the other two were shot dead in an exchange of fire with security officials in the compound’s parking lot.

Those killed by the gunmen included three private security guards and a police officer, hospital officials said. At least seven people were wounded in the attack.

“The attackers had hand grenades with them,” said Faisal Edhi, head of the Edhi charity and ambulance service, from the scene of the attack shortly after it was ended.

“We were hearing explosions going off.”

The PSX building is located in the heart of Karachi’s main corporate district, home to the headquarters of several major multinational companies and banks.

Video shot by an office worker in a building opposite the PSX showed the four attackers coming out of a car at the security checkpoint and firing at the security guards.

Members of the Crime Scene Unit of Karachi Police prepare to survey the site of the attack at the PSX [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

The armed separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement emailed to Al Jazeera, releasing an image of the four attackers.

A senior security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera the attack had the hallmarks of previous BLA attacks in the city, notably a November 2018 raid that killed two people when gunmen attempted to storm the Chinese consulate in Karachi.

“They came heavily equipped with the purpose, as in those previous attacks, to dig in and set up a siege,” the official said. “There were four of them, but luckily they were engaged by the local police deployed there for the security of the stock exchange.”

‘We are terrified’

Abid Habib, a director at the PSX, told Al Jazeera by telephone that he and 20 other employees took shelter in their offices while security forces swept through the building to locate any additional threats.

The PSX normally houses more than 2,000 employees of both the exchange and associated trading companies, but was operating with reduced staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, PSX official Sulaiman Mehdi told reporters outside the building.

Images from the building showed trails of blood splattered across a staircase and an adjacent corridor inside the building.

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Senior police official Sharjeel Kharal told reporters the attackers were killed before entering the building.

“We have cleared the building and handed it over to the local police,” he said. “Nothing happened in the main hall.”

Pakistan 4 Killed In Attack On Karachi Stock Exchange


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