Middle East

Friday 25 July 2014

Taliban bike gang follows airport rampage with raid in Karachi

Rob Crilly and Saleem Mehsud

Published 11/06/2014|02:30

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Paramilitary soldiers react as they ask members of the media to leave during their search in a neighbourhood, after a gunfire attack on a security academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) in Karachi. Reuters
Paramilitary soldiers react as they ask members of the media to leave during their search in a neighbourhood, after a gunfire attack on a security academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) in Karachi. Reuters
A man pushes a trolley past a damaged building on the tarmac of Jinnah International Airport, a day after Sunday's attack by Taliban militants, in Karachi. Reuters
A man pushes a trolley past a damaged building on the tarmac of Jinnah International Airport, a day after Sunday's attack by Taliban militants, in Karachi. Reuters
Paramilitary soldiers march along a street in a neighbourhood after a gunfire attack on a security academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) in Karachi. Reuters
Paramilitary soldiers march along a street in a neighbourhood after a gunfire attack on a security academy run by the Airports Security Force (ASF) in Karachi. Reuters

The Pakistan Taliban has claimed its members were behind an attack on a security base in Karachi, barely 24 hours after they went on the rampage at the city's airport, killing 25 people.

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Officials said gunmen, some on motorcycles, opened fire on a camp run by the airport's security force, whose personnel killed 10 insurgents during Sunday night's bloodshed.

The gun battle was over almost as soon as it began, with the attackers fleeing into the city. Maj Gen Asim Bajwa said three to four attackers had opened fire and fled without gaining access to the facility.

The assault will be a blow to Pakistan's military and government which had promised to step up security after the Taliban announced that it would launch further attacks.

The daylight raid was little more than half a mile from the scene of Sunday's chaos.

Jinnah International Airport was closed for a brief period to all traffic, forcing an inbound Emirates flight to return to Dubai.

"The aim of the attackers was to create a panic, and we shouldn't be playing into their hands," the head of the airport security force, Azam Khan, told Pakistani television.

Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said: "This wave of attacks will be continuing in retaliation for shelling and atrocities."

The attack on Karachi airport has increased pressure on the Pakistan government to launch a long-awaited military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal district and clear the area of militants. Thousands of families are reported to have already left North Waziristan in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday, seven more charred bodies were found in a cold store at the airport, bringing the number killed from Sunday night's attack to 25 guards and civilians.

Criticism

The discovery will heighten criticism of the handling of the crisis. Relations had blocked a nearby road demanding help to find cargo workers who remained unaccounted for even after the airport reopened. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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