Al-Qaida attack on Pakistani frigate foiled

Ten people were killed in the shootout that followed the attempt.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Sept. 17, 2014 at 2:49 PM
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KARACHI , Pakistan, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida attempted to hijack a Pakistani naval vessel and use it to attack U.S. Navy vessels, Pakistani security officials said.

The attack on the frigate PNS Zulfiqar was attempted Sept. 6 in part by Pakistani Navy personnel recruited by al-Qaida. In a suicide bombing and an exchange of fire, 10 militants and one naval officer were killed. The incident raised fears about terrorist infiltration of Pakistan's military force.

"Without assistance from inside, these people could not have breached security. The Pakistan navy very bravely thwarted this attack. There was no damage of any kind to our installations," Defense Minister Khawaja Asif recently told Parliament.

News of the incident, which may have been timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, was concealed until information was recently leaked.

The frigate was scheduled to join an international naval anti-terrorism force in the Indian Ocean. "It appears the officers on board were to be joined by other militants who were to arrive by boat from the sea and then stow away on board," a Pakistani security official said. "The plan was to get close to the U.S. ships on the high seas, and then turn the shipboard weapon systems on the Americans."

Four naval men aboard the frigate, each an al-Qaida recruit, were killed, one by exploding a suicide bomb as he was surrounded.

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