Security forces take control of five-star Pearl Continental hotel near Gwadar seaport after it was stormed by four militants of Balochistan Liberation Army, who killed a security guard ahead of intense gun battle.

The five-star Zaver Pearl Continental hotel sits perched on a hill in the southwestern Pakistani city of Gwadar. (May 8, 2019)
The five-star Zaver Pearl Continental hotel sits perched on a hill in the southwestern Pakistani city of Gwadar. (May 8, 2019) (AFP)

Four insurgents armed with rifles and grenades attacked a luxury hotel in the southwestern coastal town of Gwadar on Saturday, triggering an intense, hours-long shootout in which one hotel guard and all the attackers were killed, officials said.

In a statement, the military said troops quickly responded to the attack on the Pearl Continental hotel and that all the guests were safely evacuated. The hotel guard was killed as the assailants opened fire with small arms.

Terror group the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), claimed responsibility for the raid, saying its four fighters were involved.

In a statement, the group released pictures of the attackers, who authorities say were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

"All four of the terrorists have been killed," said a senior security official.

A second security official said troops had taken control of the area after killing the assailants. Both security officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media. They said a search was still under way in the area.

"There were no Chinese or Pakistani guests in the hotel," Mohammad Aslam, the on-duty officer in Gwadar said, adding that only staff were present in the building and that at least three are believed to be injured.

BLA is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Pakistan and the UK, but not by the US, and the EU.

Journalist Kamran Yousaf has more from Islamabad. 

Attackers may have come in a boat

Naval commandos and police backed by helicopters took part in the operation.

One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media, told Reuters most guests had been evacuated.

Earlier, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohsin Hassan Butt said that "95 per cent of the hotel has been evacuated" and that only hotel staff appear to be inside, Dawn reported

Butt said the attackers may have come in a boat to storm the hotel.

The Pearl Continental is the only luxury hotel in Gwadar, formerly a small fishing village, and is where foreign and Pakistani business delegations, as well as diplomats, stay when visiting the city.

Economic corridor 

With its 600-km long coastline, Gwadar is a key deep seaport currently operated by China which seeks to attain direct access to the Indian Ocean via Gwadar seaport through multi-billion mega-project, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The economic corridor will not only provide China cheaper access to Africa and the Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world's second-largest economy.

Pakistan aims for Gwadar – located on the Arabian Sea near Iran and the mouth of the Persian Gulf – to become a regional commercial, industrial and shipping hub, as part of the ambitious CPEC project.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies