At least three people have been killed after gunmen attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the southern city of Karachi this morning, police have said.
The attackers used grenades and guns to target the building – with intense and loud shots heard in videos posted online by witnesses. Two guards and a police officer were killed in the attack, police said.
Earlier, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters that four gunmen involved in the attack were also killed. ‘Four attackers have been killed, they had come in a silver Corolla car,’ he told reporters.
The attackers were armed with grenades and automatic rifles, police added.
Rizwan Ahmend, a police official at the scene, said the attackers opened fire at the entrance and entered the stock exchange grounds. It was not immediately known whether any of the gunmen were able to enter the building itself.
He said the food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which police quickly thwarted.
Graphic pictures from the scene of the attack showed bodies scattered on the ground outside the building with plainclothes and uniformed police officers investigating.
Inside the stock exchange, broker Yaqub Memon said he and others had huddled inside their offices.
Heavily armed special forces surrounded the building located in the heart of the city’s financial district, where the Pakistan State Bank is located as well as the headquarters of several national and international financial institutions.
Local television stations are showing police in full body armour surrounding the building but still staying outside the high walled compound of the stock exchange.
The building is in a high-security zone and also houses the head offices of many private banks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Pakistan has long been plagued by Islamist militant violence but attacks have become less frequent in recent years.
The gunmen initially threw a grenade then opened fire on a security post outside the building, Reuters reports.
‘The situation is still unfolding and management, with the help of security forces, is managing the security and controlling the situation,’ the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) said on Twitter.
The Karachi stock exchange is Pakistan’s largest and oldest stock exchange, incorporated today with the exchanges in Islamabad and Lahore.
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