ABBOTTABAD: In an attack evoking the swoop by US commandos on the Abbottabad compound of Osama bin Laden, unknown miscreants fired a volley of rockets at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul, on Friday.
A total of nine rockets were fired at the country’s premier military academy from Khola Dehri at around 3:20am.
“Nine rockets were fired. Three rockets hit the boundary wall of the military academy and damaged it. No one was hurt in the attack,” AFP quoted Imtiaz Hussain Shah, a top local government official, as saying.
Mohammad Karim Khan, Abbottabad police chief, said: “Three rockets hit the boundary wall. Three others landed in an open area and three others landed in a field.”
According to sources, one of the shells hit a mosque inside the academy.
A spokeswoman for PMA said six rocket shells missed the target and landed in open fields. All six shells remained unexploded.
However, she added, a house was partially damaged when one of the unexploded rockets struck the roof.
There was no word on loss of life or damage to property.
The series of explosions set off a shudder of fear in the vicinity of the academy.
Security officials recovered nine timers and batteries from the place used for launching the rockets.
Soon after the firing of rockets, army and police cordoned off the area and nobody was allowed to move about. Residents of nearby localities had to remain indoors.
The police started a search operation in a mountainous area that leads to resorts of Thandiyani and the Galyat.
A joint meeting of police, the divisional administration and the Army was in progress till late into the night.
Khalid Khan, who lives near the PMA, told Dawn: “I heard three explosions, followed by suspension in power supply.”
Another man said the thunder drew residents out of their homes despite the freezing cold and a few people clambered on roofs to find out what was going on.
The place which was used as a launch pad lies about 500 metres from the academy and is at a stone’s throw from the Osama compound. It is guarded round the clock by soldiers and police.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and other military officials spent a busy day at Abbottabad on Thursday, attending a conference and a function of the Frontier Force Regiment.
Sources said there was high security during the presence of the military leadership. The interior of the city was declared ‘sensitive’ and besides police and army vigilance, helicopters kept hovering over the place as long as the top brass were there.
Abbottabad has the distinction of housing the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, three centres of major armed forces units — Frontier Force Regiment, Baloch Regiment, the Army Medical Corps — and the Pakistan Army’s School of Physical Fitness and Warfare Training.
Agencies add: Officials blamed terrorists for the attack. “We have a security system and checkpoints on the roads, but the place they used as a launch pad is accessible from all sides and there are mountains at the back of this place,” an official told a private television channel.