Four attackers have stormed a luxury hotel in Pakistan, shooting dead a security guard before being killed themselves after a lengthy stand-off.
The attack happened at the Pearl Continental Hotel in the southwestern city of Gwadar.
Before the deaths were confirmed, an army spokesman said: “The guests have been safely evacuated. The terrorists have been encircled by security forces in staircase leading to the top floor. A clearance operation is in progress.”
According to The Balochistan Post, at least 10 blasts were heard near the five-star hotel and there were initial reports that three attackers had entered the building.
A senior security official later said: “All four terrorists have been killed.”
Gwadar lies about 435 miles south west of Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, and the hotel is near the city’s port.
The city was built with Chinese help in recent years and its port is being developed as part of the $60bn (£46bn) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The hotel is used by many foreign guests, including dozens of Chinese people working on infrastructure projects.
But Balochistan, one of Pakistan’s largest and poorest provinces,has been plagued by ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies, with militants demanding a greater share of its natural gas and other resources.
One of these groups is the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which has said it was behind the hotel attack. In a statement, the group released photos of the attackers.
Officials in Pakistan said they were on high alert for attacks during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims which began in early May.
Saturday’s incident comes after a bombing earlier this week targeting police outside a Sufi shrine in Lahore, in the north of Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 20.