x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Fresh gunfire at Karachi airport, security operation resumes

Pakistan security forces said gunfire resumed several hours after they announced the end of a militant siege that left 24 dead.

Smoke rises after militants launched an early morning assault at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on June 9, 2014.  Pakistan's security forces said the siege left at least 24 dead. Rizwan Tabassum/AFP Photo
Smoke rises after militants launched an early morning assault at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on June 9, 2014. Pakistan's security forces said the siege left at least 24 dead. Rizwan Tabassum/AFP Photo

KARACHI // Pakistan’s security forces relaunched a military operation at Karachi airport on Monday as gunfire resumed several hours after they announced the end of a militant siege that left 24 dead.

“We have relaunched the operation and called in additional troops,” said Sibtain Rizvi, spokesman for the Rangers paramilitary force, adding that one police officer had been injured in the firing.

Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, saying it was revenge for the army’s air strikes in areas along the Afghan border where the insurgents are based.

“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,” said Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman.

A witness said gunshots could be heard inside the airport and that rangers and elite commandos were rushing inside.

The initial assault at the Jinnah International Airport began late Sunday and raged until dawn, when the military said that all 10 militants had been killed.

Equipped with suicide vests, grenades and rocket launchers, they had battled security forces in one of the most brazen attacks in years in Pakistan’s biggest city. Among the 14 victims were security personnel and four airport workers.

* Agence France-Presse and Reuters

More updates to come