Police Officers, Bombers Killed In Attack On Chinese Consulate In Pakistan
Three suicide attackers have tried to storm the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi, but were killed before they could get into the building, the city's police chief says.
At least two police officers were killed in Friday's attack, which was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist insurgent group that opposes Chinese projects in the resource-rich southwestern province of Baluchistan.
All Chinese staff at the consulate were safe, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and China's Foreign Ministry said.
China is a neighbour and close ally which pours billions of dollars into Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road initiative.
It was the highest-profile operation in years by the BLA, which mostly wages a low-level insurgency in Baluchistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an inquiry, with his office calling the attack "part of conspiracy against Pak and China economic and strategic cooperation".
As the attack unfold, an explosion and gunshots rang out in Karachi's affluent Clifton neighbourhood, where the consulate is located, and a plume of smoke rose over the area.
Karachi police chief Amir Shaikh said the three attackers came in a car filled with explosives but failed to get inside the heavily fortified compound.
"They tried to get inside, but the Rangers and police killed one of the terrorists," Shaikh said.
A gun battle broke out with the two other attackers trying to enter the consulate's visa section, but they were also killed, he said.
At least three cars parked near the embassy were destroyed in the initial blast. A spokesman for the BLA confirmed there were three attackers.
"They stormed the Chinese embassy in Karachi. China is exploiting our resources," spokesman Jiand Baloch told Reuters by telephone.
The insurgents are based in Baluchistan, where China has funded development of a deep-water port in the town of Gwadar, and is also funding other projects on a China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Baluchistan, which is on the borders of Afghanistan and Iran, has rich mineral and natural gas reserves but is Pakistan's poorest province.
The BLA says the state is taking over land belonging to indigenous people and has targeted Chinese-funded projects.