28 dead in Karachi airport attack among 10 terrorists, TTP accepts responsibility

KARACHI: Armed Militant heavily stormed on Karachi Airport old terminal all the night leaving 28 people, including 10 terrorists, were killed after continue explosions and gunfire rang out as the attackers, equipped with suicide vests, grenades and rocket launchers, battled security forces in one of the most brazen attacks in years in Pakistan´s biggest city.

Authorities said all 10 militants had been killed and that the bodies of 14 victims, including security personnel and four airport workers, had been identified at the city´s main hospital.

At least 28 people, including 10 terrorists, were reported dead in what is the first large-scale terrorist attack at the country’s largest airport in years.
According to reports, eight ASF personnel, two Rangers officials, one police officer and two PIA officials are among the deceased.
Large plumes of smoke were seen rising from the runway area of the old airport (also known as the Hajj Terminal), as the airport shut down, passengers were evacuated and the flight schedule was suspended.
Pakistan Army troops have been called in to take control of the situation.
“A precautionary search operation will take place after daylight and the airport will be cleared for operations, handed back to the Civil Aviation Authority/ Airport Security by mid day,” said DG ISPR Asim Bajwa.
While, three blasts heard at Karachi airport at the old terminal during the filling of this report after 9 am today. Sources said the terrorists have blown up themselves with jacket blast.

Earlier reports, the terrorists attacks on 11 20 pm at Karachi Airport there were two terrorists had been killed while five personnel of Airport Security Force (ASF) among a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have been martyred following in an armed attack at Karachi Benazir Bhutto Airport.

According to an ongoing operation by the Armed, Rangers, police and ASF forces against the terrorists, about 10 armed attackers hurled grenades and opened fire as they entered the tarmac from fokker gate, where the cargo office and other offices, during this led to an exchange of fire between ASF personnel and the terrorists.

Gunshots and blasts were being heard with intervals outside the airport and flight operations have been suspended.

Two planes were partially damaged in the terrorist attack. TV footage showed one of the planes had caught fire.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif contacted DG Rangers Rizwan Akhtar and directed him to ensure safety of all the passengers at the airport.
Pakistan Army personnel have also arrived to assist ASF and other Law Enforcement Agencies.

According to DG ISPR Asim Bajwa, Pakistan Army troops have started reaching the airport and taking positions. In a series of tweets the DG ISPR added that proper coordination has being ensured for optimum effect and the DG Rangers was present at the airport leading the operation. He added that the operation was being supervised by Corps Commander.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has ordered an inquiry into the attack. Emergency has been declared at Jinnah, Civil and Abbasi Shaheed Hospitals.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah along with Sharjeel Inaam Memon arrived at the airport after the reports of attack. Passengers are advised to adjust travel plans as flight from Karachi are being diverted.

The attack still was ongoing early Monday in Karachi, a sprawling port city on the southern coast of Pakistan. Gunfire could be heard coming from the terminal at Jinnah International Airport as authorities scrambled to secure the area.

Five bodies were brought from the airport to Jinnah Hospital, along with one person who had been wounded, said Dr. Seemi Jamali at the hospital.

Gunmen attacked the terminal late Sunday, said Shaukat Jamal, a spokesman for the Airport Security Force. Pakistani television stations aired footage of what appeared to be a major fire at the airport, with the silhouette of a jet seen.

Jamal said the Pakistani military has been called in and that police were fighting the attackers.

The attack happened at a terminal not generally used for commercial flights but for special VIP flights and for cargo.

Sarmad Hussain, an official with the state-run Pakistan International Airlines, said three of the dead were from the security force tasked with protecting the airport and the other two were from PIA.

“I was working at my office when I heard big blasts — several blasts — and then there were heavy gunshots,” he said to The Associated Press after escaping the building. He said he and a colleague jumped out one of the windows to get away, and his colleague broke his leg.

When Hussain came out of the building, he saw smoke billowing from the terminal.

Jamal, the ASF official, said army commandos have confined the attackers to a maintenance area, and that they hadn’t been able to get onto the tarmac.

He said the police and army commandos were still fighting with the attackers. He said he was not sure how many attackers there were and whether any of them had been killed.

A spokesman for PIA, Mashhood Tajwar, said at least two domestic flights have been diverted, and all flight operations had been suspended.

Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city and has been the site of frequent militant attacks in the past. It is the country’s economic heart and any militant activity targeting the airport likely would strike a heavy blow at foreign investment in the country.

In May 2011, militants waged an 18-hour siege at a naval base in Karachi, killing 10 people in an assault that deeply embarrassed its armed forces.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday night’s attack. Pakistan’s government has been trying to negotiate a peace deal with militants mostly based in the northwest who have been waging war against the government. But the talks have had little success, raising fears that the militants will increase attacks across the country.

Security officials in Karachi had feared that if the talks broke down, Karachi would be a likely spot for militant groups to strike back as the Pakistani Taliban and their allies increasingly have gained a foothold in the city in recent years.

In the suicide bombing, four bombers targeted Shiite pilgrims staying at a hotel in the town of Tuftan near the Iranian border, said Baluchistan Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti. One bomber was killed by security officials traveling with the pilgrims, but the other three managed to get inside the hotel where they blew themselves up in an attack that also wounded 10 people, he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether there was a connection between the airport assault and the Baluchistan attack.