The Pakistan military finally regained control of the Naval air force after a 16-hour gunbattle with as few as six Taliban gunmen who attached the PNS Mehran base in Karachi late on Sunday, reported Reuters.
The attack which Pakistan Taliban later took responsibility for, was launched to avenge the killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 2.
The attack by the militants raises fresh doubts about the Military's ability to protect its bases. An attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi had taken place in 2009 and also the recent U.S raid on Al-Qaeda leader's hide out at northern Islamabad on are evidences enough to doubt the Pakistan Military's competence.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said just six militants were believed to be involved in the attack on the PNS Mehran base on Sunday, destroying two air planes and leaving the main building heavily damaged. The Karachi base is considered one of the most heavily guarded Militrary base in Pakistan. The media initially had reported the presence of around a dozen gunmen, but the actual number of militants came to light only later.
Two suspects are believed to have fled the scene,
When they fired the first rockets, they were intercepted, said Pakistan's navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir. Then they could not launch another attack on other aircraft and they tried to hide. He said it took three to four hours to sketch out a plan to contain the militants, reported Reuters.
At least 10 military personnel were killed and around 20 injured in the gun battle that lasted for 16 hours, a navy spokesman said. Three militants were killed and the body of the fourth one was believed buried under the rubbles, he added.
One of the militant is reported to have blown himself up, while the other two were gunned down elsewhere, said Bashir.
It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful, Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
What happened at the scene?
According to Malik, the militants aged between 20 and 25 used two ladders to scale the walls of the base and jumped in by cutting the barbed wire. They used guns and granades at the base which is 15 miles from the Masroor Air base, pakistan's largest and a possible depot for nuclear weapons.
PNS Mehran is surrounded by a concrete wall with about 5 ft (1.5 metres) of barbed wire extended on top.
It came as a shock to some residents of Karachi when they heard about the attacks.
If these people can just enter a military base like this, then how can any Pakistani feel safe? asked Mazhar Iqbal, 28, an engineering company administrator, reported Reuters.
17 foreigners- 11 chinese and six Americans have been reported to be inside the base when the attacks took place, all of whom had been evacuated safely.
Two P-3C Orions, maritime patrol aircraft supplied by the United States, were destroyed, said ColonelDavid Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, the report stated.