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Terror over at Karachi airport, carnage leaves 23 dead

Publication Date : 09-06-2014

 

Karachi Airport's old terminal was attacked by heavily armed assailants on Sunday night, Dawn News reported.

The Pakistan Army spokesman has said the entire airport has been cleared and that all terrorists have been killed.

At least 23 people have been reportedly killed, including security personnel.

Ten terrorists were also among the dead.

ISPR Spokesman Asim Bajwa said the terrorists "were confined to two areas and eliminated".

He said that weapons, live ammunition, including RPGs, were recovered from the terrorists.

Bajwa said that they were wearing large packs on their bodies.

The ISPR spokesman said that Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif "congratulated participating troops for a well coordinated, successful operation eliminating all terrorists".

He also said that Raheel Sharif "paid rich tribute to all shaheed and injured for their supreme sacrifice".

Some eight to 10 attackers were said to have engaged security forces in a gunbattle.

Earlier, Pakistan Army troops were called in to deal with the situation and troops from Malir Cantonment have been dispatched, while police commandos and Karachi Rangers are assisting.

A huge explosion was heard over two hours into the attack. A second large explosion was heard near the airport workshop. A third massive explosion was heard a further 30-40 minutes in. Huge clouds of smoke continue to dominate the skyline.

Intermittent firing took place at the airport, while large plumes of smoke were seen over the cargo terminal.

One plane each of PIA and AirBlue, and a cargo plane of a foreign company were reported to have been damaged.

A hand grenade attack was also carried out on the Isphani Hanger.

Suicide bombers were reportedly part of the terrorist squad that has infiltrated the airport.

Staff is being rescued by the security personnel and moved to safer areas. Rescue teams are being allowed in after being checked thoroughly. Passengers have been evacuated and moved to a secure location.

Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif called DG Rangers Sindh and asked him to ensure the safety of passengers.

All flight operations at Jinnah Terminal have been suspended and flights have been diverted to other airports.

Pakistan correspondent for the Daily Telegraph Rob Crilly reported that he had spoken to MQM leader Farooq Sattar and stated that, "He sounds calm but understandably concerned about being stuck on plane filled with aviation fuel."

Death toll
The bodies of 10 people including ASF officials were brought to Jinnah Hospital a few hours into the attack, along with 15 injured.

A rocket launcher and four SMGs were recovered from the slain terrorists.

One suicide bomber blew himself up during the attack, injuring one security personnel.

A Rangers spokesperson claimed, "Indian arms and ammunition" were found on the bodies of the terrorists.

How they got in
The attackers are said to have forged fake ID cards of ASF and entered the area.

Broken glass and used gun magazines littered the engineering section where the first exchange of gunfire had taken place.

The terrorists carried out the attack from three different sides, officials said, while there are reports that two terrorists managed to get inside a plane.

Motive?
While no group has claimed the Karachi airport attack, suspicion falls on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who had assaulted the headquarters of Pakistan’s naval air force in May 2011, killing 13 people, injuring 16 others and blowing up at least two military aircraft.

As reported on the New York Times website: “The target appears to be to create panic and damage the fleet,” said one government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

As reported on the Washington Post website: One senior Pakistani intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, said some of the militants tried to hijack a plane but were unsuccessful.

 

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