• Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pakistan Taliban claim airport raid

28 people including 10 militants killed

BBC Online
Smoke rises above Karachi airport terminal in Pakistan on Monday. Photo: AP
Smoke rises above Karachi airport terminal in Pakistan on Monday. Photo: AP

The Pakistani Taliban have said they were behind an attack at the country's largest airport that killed at least 28 people, including 10 militants.

Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility for Karachi airport attack http://t.co/NbRueQbAqR

— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) June 9, 2014

The raid happened late on Sunday at a terminal used for cargo and VIP flights at Karachi international airport.

Ethnic Uzbeks in group that attacked #KarachiAirport airport - paramilitary http://t.co/KzRXe8PMxU

— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) June 9, 2014

Fresh violence reportedly broke out early on Monday, hours after the army said it had retaken control and all 10 attackers had been killed.

Rescue workers and paramilitary soldiers gather next to bodies after an attack on Jinnah International Airport, at a hospital morgue in Karachi June on Monday. Gunmen attacked one of Pakistan's biggest airports on Sunday and at least 23 people were killed, including all 10 of the attackers, media reported. Photo: Reuters
Rescue workers and paramilitary soldiers gather next to bodies after an attack on Jinnah International Airport, at a hospital morgue in Karachi on Monday. Gunmen attacked one of Pakistan's biggest airports on Sunday and at least 23 people were killed, including all 10 of the attackers, media reported. Photo: Reuters

Karachi has been a target for many insurgent attacks.

Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman, was quoted as saying by Reuters on Monday: "It is a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages."

The dead terminal staff were said to be mostly security guards from the Airport Security Force (ASF) but also airline workers. At least 14 people were wounded.

All flights are being diverted to other airports.

'Gunfire resumes' at Karachi airport in Pakistan after attack that left 23 dead http://t.co/NE5NyCxqrk

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 9, 2014

Analysts say the attack further undermines Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's attempt at initiating peace talks with the Taliban.

The negotiations have made little headway since February. Critics have argued that they could allow the militants to regroup and gain strength.

Gunmen disguised as police guards kill 26 at Pakistan airport http://t.co/qm6uI5puW9

— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 9, 2014

At the scene: Riaz Sohail, BBC Urdu, Karachi

I was with police at the Fokker Gate where some of the militants initially entered - and a few hundred metres from the fighting. We spent five to six hours at the airport while the militants were battling.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack http://t.co/mUo0G71R7B pic.twitter.com/Q0wIlUOYH5

— dna (@dna) June 9, 2014

Witnesses told us the militants came in a high-roofed van, which dropped them at the entrance to this terminal and then quickly left.

We were told several militants jumped into the buildings and shortly afterwards a very heavy deployment of the Pakistani army arrived and firing began.

Live Tweets from the Runway – Pakistan's #KarachiAirport Under Attack http://t.co/ildILsQ7iO pic.twitter.com/JCod3bfa9w

— Global Voices (@globalvoices) June 9, 2014

We took cover while loud bomb blasts could be heard. Officials told us it was suicide bombers detonating their vests. Later they discovered live suicide jackets from militants shot dead in the encounter.

Their intention may well have been for a longer and deadlier siege as one official told me that the militants had brought dry food supplies with them.

Fresh gunfire at #Karachi airport, security operation resumes http://t.co/jl0UIUaiMD pic.twitter.com/BAk8XA2yVF

— Gulf News (@gulf_news) June 9, 2014

'Well trained'

The army said the 10 gunmen stormed Jinnah International Airport in two teams of five on Sunday at 23:00 local time (18:00 GMT).

The attackers are believed to have entered the area using fake ID cards, although some reports suggest they cut through a barbed wire fence.

23 dead after terrorist attack on Pakistan's largest airport http://t.co/cRwPnxCraV pic.twitter.com/XMxqdlXMCB

— Mashable (@mashable) June 9, 2014

They threw grenades and fired at security guards in the old terminal, which is now only used for cargo and VIP operations.

The Chief Minister of Sindh province, Qaim Ali Shah, said the attackers "were well trained".

"Their plan was very well thought out," he said, adding that they had failed to destroy some of the aircraft as they had intended.

Seven of the attackers later shot dead during a gun battle which lasted until about 04:30. Another three detonated their explosives.

The attackers set fire to cargo, but no aircraft were damaged, the officials said.

Army officials said there were indications that some of the gunmen may have been foreign nationals.

There were also reports of at least two huge blasts at the airport.

Sarmad Hussain, an official with Pakistan International Airlines, told the Associated Press news agency: "I was working at my office when I heard big blasts - several blasts - and then there were heavy gunshots."

He said he and a colleague escaped by jumping from a window. His colleague broke a leg.

Published: 8:33 am Monday, June 09, 2014

Last modified: 9:37 pm Monday, June 09, 2014

TAGS: Pakistan Nawaz Sharif Taliban Karachi Jinnah International Airport Gun battles

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