Sun June 8, 2014
Karachi Airport Attacked By Gunmen; At Least 23 Reported Dead
Originally published on Sun June 8, 2014 11:46 pm
This post was last updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Monday.
Gunmen attacked Pakistan's international airport in Karachi Sunday night, and the fighting continued into Monday morning.
The reported death toll has been rising: The latest from Pakistan media is that at least 23 are dead, including airport guards and the 10 militants said to be behind the attack.
A spokesman for the Airport Security Force told The Associated Press that the military was called in, but after that the fighting is now over.
The New York Times reports:
"Security forces sealed off the airport, and flights began being diverted away from Karachi within minutes of the fighting. Witnesses saw smoke rising from the airport's old terminal, and one Pakistani news channel showed footage of a fire burning close to a plane."
The AP notes that Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, "has been the site of frequent militant attacks in the past."
Note: This story is developing. We'll update with more details as they become available.
Update at 1:45 a.m. ET Monday:
In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. "We carried out this attack on the Karachi airport and it is a message to the Pakistani government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages," TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said.
Update at 8:00 p.m. Death Toll Rises:
NPR's Philip Reeves reports that the military says the fighting at the airport in Karachi is now over. He also reports that the number killed in the fighting is up to at least 23, including 10 militants, according to a government spokesperson.
Update at 7:10 p.m. ET. Death Toll Up To 14:
Pakistan media report at least 14 people are dead, NPR's Philip Reeves says. He tells our Newscast unit:
"One witness told a Pakistani TV channel the attackers arrived in a vehicle. There were about eight young men, carrying weapons and backpacks; they got out and started firing, the witness said."
Update at 4:55 p.m. ET. At Least 5 Dead:
Dr. Seemi Jamali, in charge Jinnah Hospital Karachi's emergency department, tells NPR's Philip Reeves that five bodies were brought to hospital. Reeves says local television is showing images of fire and smoke outside the airport, in an area close to planes.