Terrorist attack at Karachi Airport leaves at least 28 dead
KARACHI: Despite prior warning of a terrorist attack at the Karachi Airport, somehow or the other, a group of heavily armed insurgents managed to enter the premises Monday and killed as many as eight Airport Security Officers, a Ranger and one Special Security Officer. However, in a counter attack by the Pakistan Army; at least 10 of the attackers were shot dead while the army managed to regain the control of the site later.
The Pakistani army said they had regained control of the country’s main airport after six hours of fighting, putting an end to the biggest attacks.
Ten attackers were all killed and another 14 bodies were transported to the Jinnah Hospital, the largest of Karachi. Among the victims, guards and two civilians, the military said.
“Clear zone. No damage to aircraft, fire visible in the pictures, now extinct, was not a plane but a building. All vital assets intact,” said army spokesman Asim Bajwa, in a tweet.
The attack resulted in the closure of the Jinnah International Airport, but the spokesman said the flights would resume later in the day.
Major General said that security forces had seized ammunition, rockets and rocket launchers belonging to the attackers.
The army was called to control an armed group had launched an attack Sunday night.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Coordinate such attacks have been claimed in the past by the Taliban, who lead a guerrilla war against the government since 2007, in which thousands of people, civilians, soldiers and Taliban died.
According to initial reports, the assailants entered the compound of the Karachi international airport at least two sides, including shearing a wire fence of the old terminal, which is no longer used by passengers but houses offices, workshops and warehouses.
An AFP journalist at the scene reported hearing three “huge” explosions, which could have been triggered by suicide bombers.
A senior intelligence services at the scene, confirmed that an attacker had exploded when he was hit by gunfire, suggesting that wearing an explosive vest.
Smoke hung over the airport, where several fires raged near aircraft parked on the tarmac.
Broken glass and empty magazines littered the ground where were the first exchanges of fire place.
“I heard gunfire and then I saw terrorists who fought with security forces. I do not know much more than that,” said a witness, Sarmad Hussain, who works for the national airline Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
“I thank God for being alive. It is really very scared, “he said to AFP.
Rizvi Syed Saim, who was aboard a plane on the tarmac, wrote on his Twitter account: “Huge explosion! I have no idea what is going on inside – another series of shots – is panic aboard! “.
“All airline passengers were evacuated,” had said the night of Sunday to Monday spokesman Asim Saleem Bajwa.
In addition, at least 23 people were killed Sunday night in southwest Pakistan in a new attack on members of the Shiite minority, told AFP local authorities.
Pakistan is struggling for more than a decade with an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.
In 2011, Islamists attacked the naval base in Karachi, destroying two US-made aircraft Orion and killing ten members of staff during a siege that lasted 17 hours.
The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, opened negotiations with the Islamist coalition Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in February, which led to a cease-fire on March 1, broke a month later.