As it happened: Karachi airport attack

Key Points

  • The Pakistani Taliban have said they were behind an attack at Karachi international airport
  • At least 28 people - including 10 militants - have been killed and 14 wounded
  • The raid began late on Sunday when heavily armed gunmen entered an area used mainly for cargo and private flights
  • Airport officials have said the siege is now over and flights should resume in the afternoon
  • All times BST

    Hello and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of dramatic events at Karachi airport, where gunfire reportedly resumed in the morning after an overnight attack by gunmen which left at least 23 people dead.


    One policeman was injured in the fresh fighting as security forces restarted an operation to clear Jinnah International Airport's old terminal, the army said.


    The army earlier said that the airport had been secured and all 10 attackers had been killed.


    Most of the dead terminal staff were airport security guards, local officials said.


    Pakistan's Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the army's air strikes in areas along the Afghan border where the insurgents were based, according to Reuters news agency.


    On Monday morning, plumes of smoke were still seen billowing from the airport. All operations remain suspended and flights are being diverted to other airports.

    Smoke billows from Jinnah International Airport. Photo: 9 June 2014
    Shahzeb Jillani BBC Pakistan correspondent

    says at least two fresh successive explosions were heard. Fire and smoke were seen rising again.


    Initial reports in Pakistan's media suggested that some of the attackers were foreign nationals, possibly ethnic Uzbeks. This has not been independently verified.


    The shooting has been taking place inside the old cargo terminal of Karachi airport. Gunfire started just when the security forces were preparing to take journalists in for a visit of the area they had just declared safe.


    An army spokesman (ISPR) said the dead attackers looked Uzbeks in appearance, but would be DNA-tested for verification.

    Ignas Vosylius, who was at the airport last night, told the BBC:
    Jinnah International Airport

    "Our plane landed just as the attack was happening. We were kept on the plane on the runway. We were informed that there was a blast. We were kept at the airport for an hour before being evacuated." Listen to the rest of Mr Vosylius's story.


    The authorities say the attack in Karachi has ended and all attackers have been killed, the AFP news agency reports.

    Smoke rises above the Jinnah International Airport Smoke can be seen rising above the terminal at Jinnah International Airport on Monday
    Rana Shahbaz Khan

    emails: I've heard lots of firing about 10 to 15 minutes ago. I've seen many military cars going to the airport. I have heard that about 14 to 15 people are involved in the attack that started last night.

    07:10: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    I was with police at the Fokker Gate [terminal] where some of the militants initially entered - and a few hundred metres from the fighting. We spent five or six hours at the airport while the militants were battling. Witnesses told us the militants came in a high-roofed van, which dropped them at the entrance to this terminal and then quickly left.

    07:13: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    We were told several militants jumped into the buildings and shortly afterwards a very heavy deployment of the Pakistani army reached there and firing began. We listened and took cover while loud bomb blasts could be heard. Officials told us it was suicide bombers detonating their vests. Later, they discovered live suicide jackets from militants shot dead in the encounter.

    07:14: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    Their intention may well have been for a longer and deadlier siege. One official told me that the militants had brought dry food supplies with them.


    Paramilitary Rangers spokesman Sibtain Rizvi tells reporters: "The attack is over and we have cleared the area of all militants, and we will hand over the airport to the Civil Aviation Authority at 12pm (0700 GMT)", AFP reports.

    This is the entrance the militants used to gain access to the terminal This is the entrance the militants used to gain access to the terminal, in this picture taken by our correspondent as the attack was unfolding
    Pakistani police can be seen defusing a suicide bomber's jacket Pakistani police can be seen defusing a suicide bomber's jacket outside the terminal, in this picture taken by our correspondent as the attack was unfolding
    07:46: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    Dr Semi Jamali, who heads Jinnah hospital's emergency department, said there were 18 bodies and 24 wounded in the hospital, while the Pakistani army (DG ISPR) has confirmed that 10 militants were killed.

    The BBC's Shaan Khan

    tweets: Sources: Operation clean up to ensure no militants hiding and disengage potential booby traps under way.

    08:04: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    says the operation was "difficult and dangerous in that everybody suspected each other because there was a rumour that the militants were in airport security uniforms".

    08:04: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    One police official told me that they initially assumed the firing was between two labour unions ahead of a controversial referendum expected soon - and that it was just a local conflict. It soon became clear this was not the case.

    CAA Pakistan

    tweets: Massive search operation being carried out by security officials at #Jinnah International after #KarachiAirportAttack.

    08:09: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    Many recalled the last attack on this scale in the city, three years ago at the Mehran airbase. But there are important differences. That area was not populated. Karachi airport is one of the country's biggest and busiest, Late at night, international flights arrive and depart. There was great fear that the militants might reach the Jinnah passenger terminal and harm passengers and begin hijackings.

    08:09: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    So security forces poured in from that side to push them further back into the other, unpopulated, terminal. I was told the militants were in two groups. One entered through the Fokker entrance, at the cargo terminal. We do not know where the others came from.

    The scene at Jinnah International Airport on Monday morning The scene at Jinnah International Airport on Monday morning
    Arsalan Saeed

    tweets: We demand military operation against all the militants #KarachiAIrport #TTP #CleanMyCountry"

    Sayed Talat Hussain, political analyst

    tweets: The govt, including army and Int, must state clearly who carried out the attack.


    emails: I was in my house when I heard a loud blast. I live near the airport so rushed up to my roof top where I could see a cloud of smoke. I then heard another blast and gun shots. This is an extremely saddening event. Thankfully, the armed forces got things under control to some extent and operations began a while ago now.

    09:16: Riaz Sohail BBC Urdu, Karachi

    A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority confirms that airport operations will resume at 16:00 (11:00 GMT), but says he is unable to give details of the number of flights and disturbance to passengers due to the attack.

    Bushra Gohar, politician

    tweets: #KarachiAirportAttack will ministers of defence, interior & DG ISI & others concerned take responsibility for the security failure & resign?


    A minister in the regional Sindh cabinet, Owais Muzaffar, has paid tribute to the officers involved in the security operation: "Our forces have done a tremendous job, as you saw how quickly they controlled the situation. Our army, rangers and police tackled the situation nicely and killed all the terrorists involved in the incident."

    Al Dayan Hasan, human rights activist

    tweets: The person who surely deserves to be fired - for "non-appearance" if nothing else - is Interior Minister Ch.Nisar. #Karachi #Taftan

    Omar t quraishi, journalist

    tweets: The biggest reason for attacking Karachi airport is it serves as the biggest air logistics centre supplying goods for the crusaders war: TTP

    Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Pakistani politician

    tweets: Heartfelt duas [prayers] for those who laid down their lives and the bereaved families. U die so we can live! No words suffice.

    10:09: M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad

    The airport raid comes against the backdrop of a major split in the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and threats of retaliation after limited military operations against foreign militants in North Waziristan. Despite its divisions, the TTP clearly still has the ability to launch spectacular attacks - and this one appears far better co-ordinated and organised than many others.

    10:11: M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad

    That has led analysts to suspect the involvement of highly trained al-Qaeda fighters and months of training. One of these highly trained al-Qaeda-linked groups is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has bases in North Waziristan. Uzbek fighters are known to have launched similar high-profile attacks before - for example on Peshawar airport in 2012 - and to have links with Pakistani groups blamed for other co-ordinated assaults, such as the 2011 Mehran naval base attack in Karachi.

    Major General Asim Bajwa

    tweets: #Kci Update: Final Clearance of entire airport completed. Airport handed over to CAA/ASF, likely to open at 1400hrs

    Members of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) defuse explosives and hand grenades along a sidewalk outside Jinnah International Airport in Karachi Members of the bomb disposal squad defuse explosives and hand grenades outside Jinnah International Airport
    Imran Khan, politician

    tweets: Karachi airport terrorist attack shocking. Continuing security & intel lapses reflect a failure of the govt's National Counter Terrorism Policy.

    Passengers of Karachi-bound Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flights wait after delays at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad Flights in other Pakistani cities, like here in Islamabad, have been delayed as a result of the attack in Karachi
    Ijaz-ul-Haq, politician

    tweets: Those who criticise our security forces and intelligence agencies are as big terrorist as the ones involved in terrorist activities!

    Hena Zuberi, journalist

    tweets: The terrorist attack at #KarachiAirport hit home - our cousin lost her beloved husband, Engr Fazal Zuberi #PrayForKarachi Shaheed iA (martyrs)

    Emirates airline

    tweets: Passengers travelling between Dubai and Karachi are reminded to check for latest flight status updates.


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