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Gunfire resumes at Pakistani airport after attack kills 23

Gunfire resumes at Pakistani airport after attack kills 23

PanARMENIAN.Net - Gunfire has reportedly resumed at Karachi airport after attack Sunday, June 8, by gunmen, which left 23 people dead and a number of others injured, according to BBC News.

One policeman was injured in fresh firing on Monday, a paramilitary spokesman said. The army had earlier said it had retaken control of Jinnah International Airport's old terminal and that all 10 attackers had been killed.

Pakistan's Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. "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," Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Most of the dead terminal staff were airport security guards.

The Chief Minister of Sindh province, Qaim Ali Shah said the attackers "were well trained".

"Their plan was very well thought out," he said, adding that they failed to destroy some of the aircraft as they had intended.

A gun battle between the gunmen and army commandos lasted more than five hours overnight, officials said.

All operations at the terminal remain suspended and all flights are being diverted to other airports. Staff and passengers were earlier evacuated. At least 14 people were wounded.

The army says the 10 gunmen stormed the airport in two teams of five on Sunday night. They threw grenades and fired at security guards in the old terminal, which is now only used for cargo and VIP operations.

Seven of the attackers were later shot dead during a gun battle which lasted until about 04:30 local time (00:30 GMT). Another three detonated their explosives. The attackers set fire to cargo, but no aircraft were damaged, the officials said.

Initial reports suggested some of the gunmen were foreign nationals.

The dead terminal staff were said to be mostly security guards from the Airport Security Force (ASF) but also airline workers.

The attackers are believed to have entered the area using fake ID cards. Other reports suggest they cut through a barbed wire fence.

An ASF spokesman earlier told AFP that the gunmen had reached the runway and that a "gun battle is continuing between terrorists and [armed] forces".

There were also reports of at least two huge blasts at the airport.

Pakistan has been fighting an Islamist insurgency for more than a decade, with the Pakistani Taliban the main militant group. Karachi has been a target for many insurgent attacks.

Gunmen attacked the Mehran naval base there in 2011, killing 10 personnel and destroying two aircraft in a 17-hour siege.

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