Four gunmen attacked the Pakistani Stock Exchange building in the city of Karachi on Monday (June 29) but security forces soon killed them all, police said. Two other people were also killed, the military said according to straitstimes.com.
The gunmen attacked the building, which is in a high security zone that also houses the head offices of many private banks, with grenades and guns, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters.
“Four attackers have been killed, they had come in a silver Corolla car,” Memon said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Pakistan has long been plagued by Islamist militant violence but attacks have become less frequent in recent years.
The gunmen initially threw a grenade then opened fire on a security post outside the building. The four were killed when security forces posted there responded.
“There was very heavy firing,” said Abid Ali Habib, chief executive officer at Aba Ali Habib Securities Pvt. who was in his office on the fourth floor. “We decided to close our office doors with no movement inside or out.”
“The situation is still unfolding and management, with the help of security forces, is managing the security and controlling the situation,” the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) said on Twitter.
The compound has two main buildings, with one for stock exchange management and another for brokerage houses. People have been asked to evacuate the buildings by the security agencies for a final check, said head of administration Nisar Ahmed Qazi.
Karachi was once a hotspot for crime and political and ethnic violence, with heavily armed groups tied to politicians frequently gunning down opponents and launching attacks on residential areas.
However, the situation has largely stabilised in recent years following operations by security agencies against armed political outfits and Islamist militants.
The operations were coupled with a series of large-scale military offensives targeting homegrown insurgents as well as Taleban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants – often based near the lawless border with Afghanistan.
Militant groups however still retain the ability to launch periodic attacks in many rurals areas of the country.
Monday’s attack comes more than a week after a grenade was thrown at a line of people waiting outside a government welfare office in the city, killing one and injuring eight others, according to a statement from municipal authorities.
In 2018, separatist militants launched a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that killed four people.