KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a Saturday attack on a naval dockyard in Karachi that saw two militants and a sailor killed, as the Navy said Tuesday it had arrested some of the militants for their involvement in the attack.
Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid in a telephone call to The Associated Press from an undisclosed location said that some naval officials helped them carry out the attack.
He said they launched the assault as revenge for an ongoing army operation in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
"We will carry out more such attacks to target the military installations. We successfully attacked the naval dockyard as we had inside help for it," he said.
Navy officials only acknowledged the attack Monday night, but said nothing about whether naval officials assisted the militants. The navy said seven of the sailors were also wounded in the attack.
"We quickly repelled the attacks and arrested some of the attackers. Our focus at that time was to trace and arrest all those who were involved in it, and this is the main reason that we did not immediately disclose this news to media," said Nadeem Bukhari, the spokesman for the Navy.
He said acting on information gleaned from the captured attackers, they carried out raids across the country and arrested more people.
He refused to share details about the detained men.
Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif told the parliament in Islamabad on Tuesday that some of the detained men were from the Navy. "I have some initial information that some of the attackers were killed some were apprehended and few of them succeeded to ran away," he said, adding that "some naval officials" were also involved in the attack.
He said he would share details about the attack on Wednesday.
Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Qadir Thabo said police had some evidence that a retired naval officer was involved in the attack.
He said they had found the body of that officer from a place near the dockyard.
Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in the war on terror, and local Taliban often target the country's security forces.
The latest attack comes at a time when the military is carrying out a major offensive in North Waziristan to eliminate local and foreign militants accused of killing thousands of people in recent years. The military says it has killed more than 900 militants since launching the June 15 operation, while it lost more than 80 soldiers.
In 2011, the Taliban attacked another naval base in Karachi in an assault that lasted for 18 hours and killed 10 people. It was a deep embarrassment for Pakistan's influential armed forces.
Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mahsud contributed to this report from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.