World

Pakistan Airport Battle Ends, At Least 23 Killed

Pakistan's military says ten armed militants stormed an international airport in Karachi. An estimated 23 people died in the ensuing clashes.

Pakistan Airport Battle Ends, At Least 23 Killed
Express News
SMS

An estimated 23 people are dead after heavily armed militants stormed an international airport in Karachi, Pakistan.

The BBC reports ten gunmen entered the Jinnah International Airport just before midnight Sunday. Gunfire and explosions rocked the airport for the next five hours as the attackers engaged security forces in a prolonged battle.

Dawn News claims the attackers killed 13 people, including security forces, and damaged several planes during the fighting. Military personnel eventually tracked down and killed all ten militants.

And CNN notes suicide bombers were among the attackers. Several military personnel were critically injured after one such bomber detonated his vest in front of an armored military vehicle.

All airport operations were suspended and all flights to and from the airport were canceled or redirected for the duration of the attack. One military spokesman said the Army hopes to be able to clear the airport for operation by midday Monday. (Via Twitter / @AsimBajwalSPR)

And a senior Pakistani intelligence official told The Washington Post the attacker's goal seemed to be hijacking an airplane. "At least four terrorists were cornered near a plane and were exchanging gunfire with security personnel."

Although no group has taken responsibility for the attack, The New York Times points out many fingers are being pointed at the Pakistani Taliban or a splinter group, thanks to renewed violence between the organization and the government.

"The Pakistani Army renewed a campaign of airstrikes against the militants in North Waziristan two weeks ago, and factions of the Taliban were believed to be behind a deadly attack on a high-security military complex ... last week."

Monday's attack marks the boldest militant strike on Karachi since 2011, when terrorists killed 10 people and blew up military equipment at a naval base.