At least 13 people, including six Pakistani army troops and as many suspected attackers, were killed during a night-long battle after a group of militants stormed a military compound and held families hostage, the military said on Saturday. The heavily armed militants stormed a compound of Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force, in the Muslim Bagh district of southwestern Balochistan province on Friday evening, and held three families hostage in a residential block, said a statement from the army. "The clearance operation at FC Compound Muslim Bagh in Northern Balochistan, which had commenced on evening of May 12 after repulsing initial onslaught of terrorists, has been completed in the morning of May 13," the statement added. "In the process of clearance operation, seven sons of the soil including a civilian have embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) while another six individuals including a woman have been injured," it added. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, latest in a string of similar incidents across the South Asian country, claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a conglomerate of various militant groups operating in the country. The large Balochistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important due to its rich copper, zinc, and natural gas reserves. The province is also a key route of the $64 billion mega project Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, which aims to connect China's strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to Balochistan's Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines for cargo, oil, and gas transportation.
Source: Anadolu Agency