Islamabad, Pakistan – Four folks had been killed after gunmen stormed the Pakistan Stock Alternate (PSX) compound in the southern metropolis of Karachi in an attack claimed by ethnic Baloch separatists.

Four gunmen attacked the stock alternate constructing at roughly 10am (05: 00 GMT) on Monday, firing indiscriminately as they charged previous a security checkpoint at the compound’s entrance.

Two attackers had been killed at that checkpoint, safety officials stated, while the varied two had been shot ineffective while attempting to construct entrance to the constructing.

The ineffective incorporated three interior most safety guards and a police officer, clinical institution officials stated. No now not up to seven folks had been wounded in the attack.

“The attackers had hand grenades with them,” stated Faisal Edhi, head of the Edhi charity and ambulance provider, from the scene of the attack quickly after it used to be ended.

“We had been hearing explosions going off.”

The PSX constructing is positioned in the coronary heart of Karachi’s critical company district, home to the headquarters of several critical multinational corporations and banks.

Video shot by an place of job worker in a constructing reverse the PSX showed the four attackers popping out of a automobile at the safety checkpoint and firing at the safety guards.

Members of the Crime Scene Unit of Karachi Police prepare to survey the site of an attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange entrance in Karachi June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Participants of the Crime Scene Unit of Karachi Police prepare to admire the plight of the attack at the PSX [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

The armed separatist Baloch Liberation Military (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack in a assertion emailed to Al Jazeera, releasing a image of the four attackers.

A senior safety official, talking on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera the attack had the hallmarks of outdated BLA attacks in the metropolis, particularly a November 2018 raid that killed two folks when gunmen attempted to storm the Chinese language consulate in Karachi.

“They got here heavily geared up with the aim, as in these outdated attacks, to dig in and position up a siege,” the official stated. “There possess been four of them, but luckily they had been engaged by the local police deployed there for the safety of the stock alternate.”

‘We are alarmed’

Abid Habib, a director at the PSX, told Al Jazeera by phone that he and 20 varied employees took refuge of their areas of work while safety forces swept by the constructing to in finding any extra threats.

“We are all alarmed,” Habib stated. “There used to be gunfire, and all staunch now each person used to be speeding to the home windows to glimpse what used to be happening. For the reason that firing used to be interior investigate cross-take a look at, each person used to be very unnerved, and we closed our outside doors.”

The PSX on the full homes greater than 2,000 employees of both the alternate and associated procuring and selling corporations, but used to be running with decreased employees attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, PSX official Sulaiman Mehdi told reporters outside the constructing.

Photos from the constructing showed trails of blood splattered across a staircase and an adjacent corridor one day of the constructing.

Senior police official Sharjeel Kharal told reporters the attackers had been killed earlier than entering the constructing.

“We’ve cleared the constructing and handed it over to the local police,” he stated. “Nothing took place in the critical hall.”

Stock Exchange in Karachi

Policemen stable an place around a body outside the Pakistan Stock Alternate constructing [Asif Hassan/AFP]

Speaking at a press convention following the attack, the chief of the Rangers paramilitary force – which led the safety response – stated the attackers had been killed interior eight minutes of attempting to storm the alternate.

“They wanted to attack this kind of prominent target … to illustrate that Pakistan is an unsafe nation and to smash the boldness of investors,” stated Predominant-Fundamental Omer Ahmed Bukhari.

Trading continued unabated at the PSX by the path of the attack, the market’s digital systems continuing to operate on-line. The market closed 0.71 percent up at 34,181.80 points.

Baloch separatism

Ethnic Baloch separatists possess been fighting the Pakistani train for greater than a decade, annoying independence for ethnically Baloch areas of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and least-populated province, which is successfully off in mineral deposits.

The BLA, one in every of the upper armed groups in the rebellion, has beforehand claimed responsibility for several critical attacks targeting Pakistani civilians and safety forces.

In Could presumably well additionally 2019, BLA gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the Pakistani port town of Gwadar, killing as a minimum 5 folks.

Violence in Pakistan has been decreased sharply in the final three years, as the nation’s safety forces launched vast-ranging safety operations in opposition to armed groups across the nation, primarily targeting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its allies, but additionally together with varied groups akin to the BLA.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim