Updated: 16/08/12 : 06:45:52Printable Version
Suspected Islamist militants armed with guns and rocket launchers have attacked an air force base in central Pakistan, sparking fierce clashes that killed eight people, officials said.
"One body of a suicide bomber strapped with explosives has been found close to the impact area," the Pakistani air force said in a statement, adding that at least one attacker had been killed.
The assault on the Minhas airfield in Kamra in Punjab Province, 37 miles northwest of Islamabad, took place in the early hours of Thursday.
Officials said special forces responded to the attack on the base, home to the Pakistani Aeronautical Complex where Mirage and JF-17 fighter jets are built.
The air force said "terrorists" had attacked the base and that "intense fire" was being exchanged between the security forces and militants.
A spokesman said seven militants and one soldier died during the incident.
Only one aircraft was damaged, he said, stressing that the air base did not house nuclear weapons.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamist militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban have staged a number of high-profile attacks in the country in recent years, including one in 2009 on army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
In May 2011, it took security forces 17 hours to quell a similar attack by six Taliban gunmen on a naval base in the southern city of Karachi to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden.
At least 10 military personnel were killed and 20 wounded in the assault.