Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pakistan Update -- June 8 , 2014 -- Heavy fighting reported at Karachi airport Group attacks cargo terminal with guns and grenades, with at least five people killed, medical sources say...........


Pakistani Taliban claims Karachi airport raid

Group threatens more attacks following assault that has left 29 people dead at country's busiest airport.

Last updated: 09 Jun 2014 11:16
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The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for an assault on Karachi airport that has killed 29 people, and given warning that more attacks are on the way.
Besides the dead, at least two dozen people were wounded and flights were suspended as a result of Monday's attack on Jinnah International Airport, which is Pakistan's busiest.
A spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said the attack, which began after midnight, was in retaliation for the treatment of TTP prisoners, for air raids in North Waziristan and for the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a drone strike last year.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the armed group said: "We have yet to take revenge for the deaths of hundreds of innocent tribal women and children in Pakistani air strikes. It's just the beginning, we have taken revenge for one, we have to take revenge for hundreds."
Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the TTP's Shahidullah Shahed sent a text message confirming responsibility and motive.
The raid involved heavily armed attackers disguised as security personnel, who hurled hand grenades and fired automatic weapons as they targeted the airport's cargo terminal.
The army said it had regained control of the airport around dawn after a six-hour siege, but explosions and shooting could still be heard on Monday morning and Pakistani troops relaunched their operation.
The dead included at least 10 of the attackers, officials said.
Al Jazeera's Hyder said the assault was well-planned, with the attackers "wearing uniforms of the airport security force and using fake IDs" to enter the terminal.
People stranded
Most passengers were evacuated to a secure location overnight and all local and international flights were suspended, officials said.
However, witnesses told Al Jazeera that more than 60 people were stranded in the main international airport terminal for several hours as they waited for security clearances.
The gun battles went on for several hours, and television pictures showed a large fire raging at the airport as ambulances ferried casualties away.
Officials showed pictures of weapons used in the raid including sub-machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, grenades and explosives.
Our correspondent said the terminal - an old facility normally used for VIP and cargo flights - was targeted by the attackers before they could gain access to the airport's tarmac.
"This is not the first time. There have been two major attacks in the past, one in Karachi and another in Kamra airbase [in Attock district in Punjab]. There was another attack on Peshawar airport which was foiled," Hyder said.
Security was ramped up at airports and military installations across Pakistan following the Karachi assault.
In a separate incident on Sunday night, at least 23 people including Shia pilgrims were killed in a gun and suicide attack inside a restaurant in Taftan, a town near the Pakistan-Iran border.

Militants Attack Karachi Airport: At Least 23 Killed in Fighting

Military Reports End to Siege at Jinnah Airport

by Jason Ditz, June 08, 2014
Militants from an as-yet-unknown faction have attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi this evening, engaging in overnight fighting with airport security that left at least 23 killed and a number of others wounded.
The death toll included ten of the militants, and at least eight members of airport security and military special forces. The Pakistani military declared the siege “over” as of 8 pm EST Sunday evening, but are still in the process of actually securing the area.
The attack started with an attack on the VIP area of the airport, and a cargo plane was set on fire in the initial siege. After five hours of fighting, fires were set in multiple locations and the airport, Pakistan’s largest for both domestic and international flights, was in a state of lock-down, with flights being rerouted elsewhere.
Government officials say the attackers started lobbing grenades at planes on the runways, and they believe the effort was primarily to “damage the fleet” and create panic at one of the nation’s most secure locations.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack yet, and while the Pakistani Taliban is always the first suspect Karachi has an array of different warring factions who could also be involved.

Heavy fighting reported at Karachi airport

Group attacks cargo terminal with guns and grenades, with at least five people killed, medical sources say.

Last updated: 08 Jun 2014 21:53
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Smoke and fire illuminate the sky above Jinnah airport in Karachi [AP]
Heavily armed gunmen have attacked a terminal at the busiest airport in Karachi, with at least five people killed as flights were suspended and the army was called in, officials have said.
An unknown number of armed men hurled hand grenades and fired automatic weapons as they attacked the cargo terminal at Jinnah international airport.
Al Jazeera's Alia Chughtai, who had arrived at the airport's international terminal minutes before the attack, said there were reports that three of the gunmen had been killed as a fire at the scene intensified.
Chughtai said that security forces had cornered seven gunmen. At least three or four aircraft were believed to be damaged.
"Apparently there was gunfire for at least an hour and then it died down, but we have reports now that it has resumed," said Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad.
"The fighters have taken strategic position possibly inside the planes parked inside the airport."
Dr Simi Jamali told Al Jazeera that at least five people, including three airport security force personnel and two Pakistan Airline employees, had been brought into Jinnah hospital from the airport.
All local and international flights were suspended. A witness told Al Jazeera by telephone that she could see smoke rising from the airport.
Rao Muhammad Anwar, a senior police official, said the attackers were armed with automatic weapons and grenades and were exchanging gunfire with security guards.
"Exchange of fire is continuing. We don't know the exact number of the attackers but suspect four to six terrorists have attacked the airport," he told the AFP news agency.
The attack happened at a terminal normally used for VIP and cargo flights, the AP news agency reported.
"This is not the first time, there have been two major attacks in the past, one in Karachi and another in Kamra airbase, there was another attack on Peshawar airport which was foiled," said Hyder.
Al Jazeera and agencies

Blasts, gunshots, fatalities as armed militants storm Pakistan's largest airport

Published time: June 08, 2014 19:03
Edited time: June 08, 2014 21:41

FILE PHOTO.(Reuters / Zahid Hussein)
FILE PHOTO.(Reuters / Zahid Hussein)
At least 5 people have reportedly been killed and an airport emergency declared after heavily armed militants stormed the airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. Twelve militants are thought to be inside and fire is seen rising from the scene.
The militants launched grenades and opened fire as they entered Jinnah International Airport. At least three blasts were heard, and an airport emergency has been declared, with flight operations suspended, reported the local Karachi Post.
The five people killed are Airport Security Force (ASF) staff, according to Pakistani news channel At least ten more were injured. There are also reports of fatalities among the assailants.

Many dead bodies laying at the runway