KARACHI: The brazen attack on Karachi international airport ended this afternoon after a 13-hour gun battle which left 28 people dead, including all the 10 terrorists.
“We carried out this attack on the Karachi airport and it is a message to the Pakistani government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement to the media.
He said that the attack was also carried out to avenge the killing of former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike.
The 10 militants divided into two groups of five attacked the airport, resulting in the 13-hour gun battle with security forces involving army, paramilitary Rangers, police and Airport Security Force (ASF).
Explosions and gunfire rang out as the attackers wearing military uniforms and suicide vests, and armed with grenades and rocket launchers attacked the airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city and financial hub.
According to reports, 11 ASF personnel, two Rangers officials, one police officer and four Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) officials are among the dead.
“The attack is over and we have cleared the area of all militants,” a spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers, Sibtain Rizvi, told reporters.
Twenty-eight people, including the 10 terrorists, were killed in the attack, one of the most daring in recent years in the port city. Twenty-four people have also been injured.
“The security forces killed seven terrorists while three blew themselves up during the fight,” Director General, Rangers, Major General Rizwan Akhtar told media.
“Very soon we will hand over the airport to the civilian aviation authority to start its normal operations,” he said.
Earlier, the military had declared an end to its operation to secure the airport but were forced to relaunch an assault after fresh firing erupted.
“All 10 terrorists have been killed, the airport secured and they were unable to damage any aircraft or installations,” a spokesman of the military’s Inter Services Pubic Relations (ISPR) said.
The terrorists were cornered and shot down after they stormed the old airport terminal building posing as Airport Security Force (ASF) personnel.
Sophisticated machine guns and rocket launchers were recovered from the slain terrorists who were being identified, he said.–PTI