Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Pakistan airport cleared of militants after attack kills 24

09 June 2014, 10:24

Karachi -Pakistan's military on Monday declared an end to an all-night offensive to quell a Taliban siege of Karachi airport that left 24 people dead, including 10 militants, and threatens to destroy a nascent peace process.

"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)," a spokesman for the paramilitary Rangers, Sibtain Rizvi, told reporters after nearly 12 hours of fighting.

The attack at Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan's biggest city began just before midnight Sunday and raged until dawn, when the military said that all 10 attackers had been killed after they had stormed two areas equipped with suicide vests, grenades and rocket launchers.

But after authorities initially declared the area cleared, an AFP reporter witnessed fresh gunfire break out inside the airport -- where explosions and fires had erupted during the night -- prompting security forces to relaunch the operation.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group said the attack was in revenge for its late leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in November.

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid also dismissed the Pakistani government's recent offer of a new round of peace talks as a ruse, and promised more attacks to come.

"Pakistan used peace talks as a tool of war," he told AFP.

"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 (Mehsud), we have to take revenge for hundreds."

Talks to end the TTP's bloody seven-year insurgency in Pakistan have been underway since February, with little clear progress made so far.

Huge suicide blasts

The assault will raise fresh concerns about Pakistan's shaky security situation, and questions about how militants were able to penetrate the airport, which serves one of the world's biggest cities.

Officials said the gunmen entered from two sides of the airport at around 11:00 pm on Sunday -- the terminal used for the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and an engineering section close to an old terminal that is no longer in use.

An AFP reporter witnessed three huge blasts as suicide bombers detonated their explosives.

Smoke was seen billowing from the airport as fires raged close to planes parked on the runway, while militants, some dressed in army uniform, clashed with the airport's security force who were backed by police, paramilitary squads and elite commandos.

A senior intelligence official said it appeared the militants had aimed to hijack a plane that passengers were boarding at the main terminal, but that when they were repelled they went on the rampage.

"The passenger plane at Jinnah terminal was their target and when they failed to reach there they destroyed two private terminals in frustration," he told AFP.

After the attack was quelled, a bomb disposal expert in full protective gear was seen walking from the site carrying a suicide vest and a bag full of hand grenades.

'Thank God I am alive'

Broken glass and spent gun magazines littered the engineering section where the first exchange of gunfire took place.

"I heard fierce firing and then saw the terrorists firing at security forces... Thank God I am alive, this is very scary," said witness Sarmad Hussain, an employee of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The city's Jinnah Hospital said that 14 bodies had been brought there, including eight airport security personnel, a ranger, a civil aviation official and four PIA staff.

Another 21 people were wounded, hospital spokeswoman Seemi Jamali told AFP.

Taliban militants have carried out a series of similar raids since rising up against the Pakistani state in 2007 in an insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.

In 2011, Taliban gunmen attacked the Mehran naval base, which lies close to the Karachi airport, destroying two US-made Orion aircraft and killing 10 personnel in a 17-hour siege.

The group also carried out a raid on Pakistan's military headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in 2009, leaving 23 dead including 11 troops and three hostages.

The latest trouble came with tensions already high in Karachi over the arrest in Britain of the exiled leader of Pakistan's MQM party, which dominates politics in the vast city -- Pakistan's economic hub and main port through which NATO has long shipped supplies to Afghanistan.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
I am in ODM to stay, Busia Depu...

Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa told Deputy President William on the face that he was in the Orange Democratic Movement to stay. Read more...

Boda Boda operators in Bahati rai...

Motorbike Boda Boda operators from Bahati Sub county on Tuesday took to the streets of Nakuru’s CBD lamenting over what they term is harassment by patrol police officers in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Human Rights activist lives in fe...

The Human rights fraternity in Mombasa is currently living in fear after the home of one of the vocal human rights champion was invaded on Monday night. Read more...

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...