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Pakistani Taliban attacks Karachi airport, 30 dead

The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack which began just before midnight on Jinnah International Airport, the country's largest.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:June 9, 2014, 11:58 PM IST
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Pakistani Taliban attacks Karachi airport, 30 dead
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack which began just before midnight on Jinnah International Airport, the country's largest.

Karachi: After a 13-hour intense gun battle, the brazen attack on Karachi international airport by Taliban militants disguised as security forces ended today, leaving 30 people dead, including all the 10 terrorists who were planning for a lengthy siege of the key facility.

The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack which began just before midnight on Jinnah International Airport, the country's largest. "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. After regaining control of the sprawling airport, spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers Sibtain Rizvi, told reporters, "The attack is over and we have cleared the area of all militants."

Karachi airport has been reopened for passengers and all flight operations have been resumed after 17 hours, said Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa.

"Karachi airport has been cleared and handed over to Civil Aviation Authority and the Airport Security Force," Major Bajwa said. The attack was carried out by 10 militants divided into two groups of five, resulting in the 13-hour gun battle with security forces involving army, paramilitary Rangers, police and Airport Security Force (ASF).

Their backpacks were filled with food and ammunition. They were also carrying XStat devices which can heal gunshot wounds within seconds. "Clearly they came with a long siege of the airport in mind," a source in the paramilitary Rangers said. 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, the bodies of 18 victims, 11 ASF personnel, two Rangers officials, one police officer and four Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) officials, were taken to a Karachi hospital. The bodies of two cargo terminal employees were later recovered, taking the total number of those killed in the attack to 30, including the 10 terrorists. Twenty-six people have also been injured in the attack. No passengers were injured in the attack on the terminal used for VIP flights and cargo.

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