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Pakistan navy attack had inside help

10 September 2014, 12:02

Islamabad - Pakistan's defence minister on Wednesday said there was a strong possibility that Taliban militants who attacked a Karachi naval dockyard at the weekend had inside help, echoing the insurgents' claims.

Three attackers were killed in the Saturday raid while seven others were arrested, Khawaja Asif told lawmakers in parliament, raising the previously reported toll of two insurgents. One sailor was also killed.

"We cannot rule out the inside help in this attack because without it the miscreants could not breach security," Asif said.

"It is the result of blowback from the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan," he added, referring to an army-led offensive in a northwestern tribal area that began in June.

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Asif said that security forces seized pistols, Kalashnikov rifles, walkie talkies, suicide bomb vests, handcuffs and religious books from the militants.

One of the attackers had connections in North Waziristan, a stronghold of Taliban militants where the army has launched a massive operation since mid-June, he added.

The Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had inside help.

"We had support from inside the naval force for this attack. This operation was successful because of this support. We will continue targeting security forces like this in future also," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP.

Pakistan's military launched its North Waziristan offensive shortly after a brazen attack on Karachi airport that left dozens dead and extinguished a largely fruitless peace process with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Read also: Atheist must swear to God - or leave US Air Force

The weekend raid was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks on key installations by the Taliban in recent years, including a 2011 assault on a naval base, also in Karachi, and on the military's headquarters in 2009.

North Waziristan has become a major base for the TTP, which rose up against the state in 2007, while the United States has long called for action in the area against militant groups targeting NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The military said Wednesday it had killed 35 militants and destroyed three hideouts in fresh air strikes in the region.

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