"We accept responsibility for another successful attack against
the government," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told
Reuters. "We are successfully achieving all our targets and we will
go on carrying on many more such attacks."
Two days earlier, 10 militants disguised as security force members
and armed with rocket-propelled grenades stormed the airport, one of
the most brazen attacks in a long-running Pakistani Taliban
The late Sunday assault, in which 34 people were killed, 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.
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.
A Reuters correspondent near the airport of Pakistan's commercial
capital heard gunfire and saw at least four ambulances heading to
There was no immediate word on casualties from the latest attack.
The army's press wing said there were three or four attackers on
motorbikes, whereas an ASF spokesman said there were two.
"The shooting came from a nearby shanty settlement towards the ASF,"
said a senior police officer. "Police are launching a search
Karachi airport briefly suspended all flights in and out of the
sprawling city of 18 million were suspended, an official said, but
most flights were restored by 0930 GMT. Sri Lankan Airlines
cancelled a Karachi-bound flight with 207 passengers onboard after
the latest attack.
Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani fighter jets bombed Taliban positions
on the Afghan border.
"Nine terrorist hideouts were destroyed by early morning military
air strikes near the Pakistan-Afghan border," the army's press wing
said, adding that 25 militants were killed.
SEVEN MORE BODIES
It was unclear if the latest air strikes signalled the start of a
broader offensive in the North Waziristan region where the al
Qaeda-linked Taliban are based, or indeed if they had been carried
out in retaliation for the airport attack.
The air force has periodically conducted raids to bomb Pakistani
Taliban positions in the lawless, ethnic Pashtun region but has yet
to launch a major offensive.
[to top of second column]
The semi-autonomous Pashtun lands along the border, known as the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas, have never been brought under
the full control of any government.
The Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of insurgent groups fighting to
topple the government and set up an Islamist state, said they had
carried out the late Sunday attack in Karachi in response to the air
strikes on their strongholds.
At Karachi's airport, rescue workers earlier recovered the bodies of
seven people trapped inside a cargo building, bringing to 34 the
death toll from the first assault.
"The bodies are badly charred beyond identification," said a morgue
official who declined to be identified.
Airport officials said the victims had taken refuge in the cargo
shed to hide from the gunfire but got trapped when the building
caught fire at the height of the battle.
"They (security forces) were busy killing militants and clearing the
area, nobody bothered to rescue these trapped men," said Abdul
Rehman, whose brother was among those killed. "They could have been
saved if timely rescue efforts had been made."
(Writing by John Chalmers and Maria Golovnina; Editing by Robert
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