Pakistan repels second Taliban attack on Karachi airport

Pakistan repels second Taliban attack on Karachi airport
Pakistan's security forces said on June 9 they have relaunched a military operation at Karachi airport as gunfire resumed several hours after they announced the end of a militant siege that left 24 dead.

KARACHI - Taliban gunmen attacked a security post outside Pakistan's Karachi airport on Tuesday, a day after an all-night siege by the militants left 37 dead and extinguished a tentative peace process.

The latest assault on the airport raised further questions about the authorities' ability to secure key facilities in the face of a resurgent enemy, and came as air force jets pounded suspected militant hideouts in the northwest, killing 25 people.

The attack on the security post targeted an entry point to an Airport Security Force (ASF) camp 500 metres (yards) from the airport's main premises, and around a kilometre from the passenger terminal.

Police, paramilitary rangers and army all raced to the site but officials later reported they had not traded fire with the militants and there had been no casualties.

"Two people came towards the ASF (Airport Security Force) checkpost and started firing," Colonel Tahir Ali, a spokesman for the force, told reporters. "Nobody has been killed or injured," he added.

Army spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa confirmed the incident was over, but tweeted that three to four assailants were involved, while a senior official at the scene who wished to remain anonymous said the gunmen may have fled to a nearby shanty settlement.

"We are chasing them, we will get them, it's not easy to hide here, there are no buildings, no population except for two small shanty towns nearby," the official told AFP.

The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to air strikes in the tribal areas, and vowed further unrest.

"Today's attack on ASF (Airport Security Force) in Karachi is in response to the bombardment on innocent people in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said. "We will continue such attacks."

Flights resumed later on Tuesday after temporarily being suspended for the second time in as many days, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

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