Second attack on Karachi airport

In less than 48 hours, Taliban gunmen open fire on security academy

Second attack on Karachi airport

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) insurgents claimed responsibility for an attack on a security academy at Karachi’s airport on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after an all-night siege at Pakistan’s busiest airport that killed more than 30 people.

On Tuesday, a group of gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on an academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) and fled after security forces retaliated. No one was hurt, officials said.

“Today’s attack on ASF in Karachi is in response to the bombardment on innocent people in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas. We will continue such attacks,” TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, referring to Pakistani air strikes on suspected militant hideouts.

“We are successfully achieving all our targets and we will go on carrying many more attacks,” he added.

Army spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said three to four assailants were involved. “3-4 terrorists fired near ASF camp, ran away. No breach of fence, no entry. Chase is on, situation under control,” he tweeted.

Airport operations were resumed after temporarily being suspended for the second time in as many days.The attackers failed to penetrate the security cordon and managed to flee into nearby congested residential areas.

ASF spokesman Colonel Tahir Ali said the incident had been played up and dismissed reports about five terrorists entering the base camp and engaging the security forces.

“The fact is that two men on a motorcycle came this (on Tuesday) morning to gate D of our camp and fired on two lady ASF officials on duty there but as soon as our forces retaliated and took positions after a brief exchange of fire they fled into the neighbourhood of Pehalwan Goth,” Ali said.

“The Pakistan army is also carrying out surveillance from helicopters and the situation is under control. The Jinnah International Airport is in control of the authorities,” he said.

A spokesman for the Pakistan International Airlines said flight schedule had been disrupted as passengers and visitors to the Jinnah airport were evacuated to safe locations after the attack.

“Some flights were disturbed and a foreign airline flight to Dubai couldn't take off on time due to the disturbance but now the airport and runaway is under total control of security forces and operations are getting back to normal,” he said. 

The late Sunday assault destroyed prospects for peace talks between the Taliban and the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and triggered speculation that the army might opt for an all-out offensive against militant strongholds.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani fighter jets bombed Taliban positions on the Afghan border.

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