Three gunmen stormed the Chinese consulate in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Friday, triggering an intense, hour-long shootout during which two police officers and all the assailants were killed, officials say. All the Chinese diplomats and staff at the consulate were safe and were not harmed during the assault or the shootout, says senior police official Ameer Ahmad Sheikh. The Baluch Liberation Army, a separatist group based in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, claimed responsibility for the attack and released photos of the three attackers, the AP reports. Karachi, the capital of neighboring Sindh province, has a militant presence, including Baluch separatists.
The attackers stormed the consulate shortly after 9am., during business hours. They first opened fire at consulate guards and then managed to breach the main gate and enter the building, said Mohammad Ashfaq, a local police chief. Pakistani security forces quickly surrounded the area. Local TV broadcast images showing smoke rising from the building, which also serves as the residence of Chinese diplomats and other staff. Multiple blasts were heard soon afterward but Sheikh could not say what they were. After the shootout, which lasted for about an hour, the situation was brought under control. "Because of a quick response of the guards and police, the terrorists could not" reach the Chinese diplomats, Sheikh said after the fighting ended.
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