ISLAMABAD -- Islamic militants clad head-to-toe in women's burqas attempted to attack an oil storage facility in Karachi, raising fears that insurgents are fleeing northwestern Pakistan and infiltrating the nation's main business hub.
Three gunmen, disguised as women, tried to enter the high security facility used by oil companies, late Monday night, Waseem Ahmed, the city police chief, told Pakistani television on Tuesday. When stopped by security guards, militants opened fire, killing one of the guards. The assailants fled during a gun battle, leaving behind their burqas, purses and hand grenades.
"We suspect they wanted to carry out a big terrorist attack which our prompt police action thwarted," said Mr. Ahmed, the police chief, in an interview with the Geo TV Pakistan.
Pakistan imports foreign oil through the Karachi port, and stores it there before transporting it throughout the country. An attack on the port facility could have threatened fuel supply for the country's industry and transport, just as Pakistan's economy is struggling to recover from a global downturn and security woes at home.
Later Tuesday, police arrested four men suspected to have been involved in the attack. During a house raid in Karachi, Mr. Ahmed said in the television interview that police found additional burqas, women's handbags and weapons. Police suspected the assailants disguised themselves as women to try to slip past security check points.
The arrested men were suspected to have been linked to the militant group led by Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban leader who was killed last month in a U.S. missile attack in South Waziristan. A large number of militants from Waziristan and other areas fleeing army attacks have been taking sanctuary in Karachi, according to Zulfikar Mirza, the Sindh provincial home minister.
Here's an idea: these terrorists wanted to be women so badly, let them have their wish. A few quick strokes with a (perhaps not-so-sharp) knife, and they'll be fully burqa-worthy... if you know what I mean (and I think you do).