Taliban responsible for Pakistan airport attack
By Aamir Latif, Monday, June 09, 2014
KARACHI, Pakistan - The Taliban in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for a brazen on Karachi international airport that killed 28 people, including the 10 attackers, and injured 23 on Sunday night, a spokesperson for the organization said.
The ten attackers, most of them wearing suicide vests, were killed, army spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa told the media. One of them managed to detonate his suicide vest, killing a security officer and injuring three others. Another was shot before he could trigger his.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the main coalition of Taliban groups in Pakistan, carried out the attack in retaliation to military air strikes in their northwestern North Waziristan stronghold, TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said.
A Pakistan Airlines official was injured on Monday morning in resumed gunfire during the search operations, as security personnel cleared bushes in a portion of the airport. Local media had initially reported that the firing was prompted by reports of three more militants hiding inside the airport.
The head of an official paramilitary, known as Rangers, Major General Rizwan Akhtar told reporters that most of the airport has been cleared and security forces have recovered five suicide vests, three rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weaponry. He also said that the attackers appear to have been of central Asian descent.
The masked attackers, some wearing security personnel uniforms, managed to enter the Jinnah international airport through an old terminal.
Hundreds of army and police personnel were then locked in battle with the ten heavily armed attackers who had initially taken positions in different areas inside the country's largest airport.
According to witnesses, heavy gunfire was heard as smoke rose from the airport. Security forces gunned down five of the attackers and one detonated his vest.
The remaining four were then isolated and surrounded by security forces in the cargo area, according to army spokesman General Bajwa, before being gunned down.
All passengers had been evacuated to safety. It is unclear whether the armed assailants wanted to hijack a plane.
Both Karachi police chief, Iqbal Mehmood, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that no damage was caused to the planes.
All flight operations have been suspended for 24 hours at the airport.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency