KARACHI: At least 24 persons including 10 security personnel, four airport workers and 10 militants were killed after heavily armed militants launched an overnight attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi that later led to an exchange of gunfire between the security forces and the attackers.
The militants who launched the attack were equipped with suicide vests, grenades and rocket launchers.
The security forces on duty retaliated and contingents of Pakistan army, paramilitary Rangers and police commandoes reached the Old Terminal immediately and started operation against terrorists.
“The attack is over and we have cleared the area of all militants, and we will hand over the airport to the Civil Aviation Authority at 12.00 pm (0700 GMT),” Rangers spokesman Sibtain Rizvi told reporters.
During the operation, a large number of weapons including SMGs, RPGs, grenades and suicide jackets were also recovered.
TTP claims responsibility for the attack
The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it was revenge for the army’s air strikes in the tribal areas. The militant outfit also said that the attack was also carried out to avenge the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike.
“We carried out this attack on the Karachi airport and it is a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,” the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement.
“It’s just the beginning, we have taken revenge for one (Mehsud), we have to take revenge for hundreds.”
The TTP spokesman said the attack was planned much earlier but had been postponed due to the peace talks with the government.
PM orders reopening Karachi airport
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered the authorities to reopen the Karachi airport for public without any delay.
The prime minister directed the Civil Aviation Authority to facilitate the passengers in every possible manner.