Lahore: PAF spokesperson claimed attacked in the early hours on Thursday.Pakistani troops have secured a key air base that came under heavy gun and rocket attack before dawn on Thursday, an air force spokesman told AFP.
“The base is clear. We can say it is totally safe now,” said Tariq Mahmood, around 10 hours after nine attackers dressed in suicide vests launched the assault.
Earlier, militants armed with guns and rocket launchers stormed a key Pakistani air force base before dawn, sparking hours of heavy clashes that killed nine people.
A security official was among the dead at PAF Base Minhas in Kamra.
The Air Force confirmed five hours after the attack began that nine attackers had been killed at the base, home to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex that assembles Mirage and, with Chinese support, JF-17 fighter jets.
The attack on the facility, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) northwest of Islamabad, began shortly after 2:00 am (2100 GMT Wednesday).
“Intense fire” was exchanged between security personnel and the “group of terrorists”, the Air Force said.
The sound of gun and rocket fire, as well as hand grenades exploding, could be heard, said an official speaking from inside the base on condition of anonymity.
Special forces were scrambled to the scene as other staff were told to remain in barracks and ambulance sirens screamed in the area.
At least one of the gunmen had been wearing a suicide vest, the air force spokesman said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility of the incident.
It was the first assault on an air base since May 2011, when it took 17 hours to quell an attack in Karachi claimed by the Taliban, piling embarrassment on the armed forces weeks after US troops killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
But it was the second deadly attack in weeks on troops near the relatively secure capital, after gunmen on July 9 killed seven security personnel who had camped by a river less than 160 kilometres (100 miles) southeast of Islamabad.