Militants Storm Pakistan Air Base

9 die in assault on suspected nuclear base

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 16, 2012 2:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Militants stormed an air base in Pakistan early Thursday morning in a brazen attack bound to raise fears about the security of the country's nuclear weapons. The team of eight militants, who all died in the attack, fought their way inside the Minras air base with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. One soldier was killed during an hours-long firefight with the militants. The attack left part of the base in flames and the area is still being combed for attackers, Reuters reports.

The base north of Islamabad holds a variety of planes, including F-16 fighter jets, and at least one aircraft was damaged when a rocket pierced a hanger wall, reports the AP. Some experts believe the base houses some of Pakistan's 100-weapon nuclear arsenal, but the military insists that none of its air bases are nuclear bases. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but it is believed to be the work of the Pakistani Taliban, who have carried out several high-profile attacks on military installations in recent years.

Pakistani security personnel guard the main entrance of Minhas air base, 50 miles northwest of Islamabad.
Pakistani security personnel guard the main entrance of Minhas air base, 50 miles northwest of Islamabad.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
Pakistani security personnel guard the main entrance of Pakistan's Minhas air base.
Pakistani security personnel guard the main entrance of Pakistan's Minhas air base.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)
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