Heavily armed gunmen disguised as police guards have killed 13 people during an attack at Jinnah international airport, Karachi, Pakistan.
The militants, who used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), entered the Fokker building with forged identity cards. They were killed by the Pakistani Army during a night-long operation.
The attack at the terminal, which is used for charter and VIP flights, left more than 14 injured, and also led to the suspension of all flight operations, while inbound flights have been diverted to other national airports.
Jinnah Hospital Emergency Department head Dr Seemi Jamali was quoted by CTV News as saying that the dead included nine Airport Security Force (ASF) personnel, one paramilitary Rangers personnel, one police official, as well as one employee each from the Civil Aviation Authority and Pakistan International Airlines.
Meanwhile, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that it was to avenge the killing of TTP commander Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in 2012, DAWN.com reported.
TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said: "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."
The incident destroys the prospects for significant peace talks between the government and Taliban militants, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hopeful of ending years of insurgency in the country.
Pakistan military spokesperson major general Asim Bajwa was quoted by CNN as saying that the Pakistani Security Forces have restarted a military operation at the airport to clear the runaway and surrounding area, with flying operations scheduled to resume by midday.
Image: Up to ten heavily armed gunmen launched an attack at the old terminal of Pakistan’s Jinnah international airport in the southern city of Karachi. Photo: courtesy of Waqas Usman.