Pak police battle militants after deadly airport raid



Agence France Presse

Published — Monday 17 December 2012

Last update 17 December 2012 5:51 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Six people were killed yesterday as police and troops battled militants armed with automatic weapons, grenades and mortars in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar, a day after a deadly Taleban raid on the city’s airport.
Fierce firing broke out after police acting on an intelligence report stormed a building near the airport, where a suicide and rocket attack on Saturday killed five civilians and five attackers and wounded 50 other people.
The assault late Saturday, claimed by the Pakistani Taleban, sparked prolonged gunfire and forced authorities to close the airport, a commercial hub and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Peshawar on the edge of the tribal belt.
It was the second Islamist militant attack in four months on a military air base in nuclear-armed Pakistan. In August 11 people were killed when heavily-armed insurgents wearing suicide vests stormed a facility in the northwestern town of Kamra.
Police backed by troops launched a raid early Sunday on a building under construction near the airport following reports that five militants who fled after the airport attack had taken refuge there, said provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain.
In the subsequent shootout three militants and a policemen were killed, police said, while two other officers were wounded.
The clashes ended after six hours when the two remaining militants detonated their suicide vests inside the building, another senior police officer, Imtiaz Altaf, told AFP.
“All five militants are dead now and the area has been cleared,” Altaf said.
“All of them were wearing suicide jackets. Three were killed in a shootout with police, while two others blew themselves up in the under-construction building.”
A PAF statement said five attackers were killed on Saturday and no damage was done to air force personnel or equipment, though Taleban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed the assault had damaged “several helicopters and aircraft.”
Doctor Umar Ayub, chief of Khyber Teaching Hospital near the airport, said five civilians had also been killed and some 50 wounded.
“The base is in total control and normal operations have resumed. The security alert was also raised on other PAF air bases as well,” the air force added.
Peshawar airport is a joint military-civilian facility. Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George said the passenger side had reopened after an 18-hour closure and there was no damage to the terminals.
The air force said Saturday’s attackers used two vehicles loaded with explosives, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. One vehicle was destroyed and the second badly damaged.
Security forces found three suicide jackets near one of the vehicles, it said.
“Security forces consisting of Pakistan Air Force and Army personnel who were on full alert, cordoned off the base and effectively repulsed the attack,” the air force said.
Television pictures showed a vehicle with a smashed windscreen, another damaged car, bushes on fire and what appeared to be a large breach in a wall.
Five nearby houses were destroyed after rockets landed on them and several other houses developed cracks, while the bomb squad detonated five out of eight bombs found near the base after the attack.
Taleban spokesman Ehsan said the target was not the civilian airport but the military.
“Our target was jet fighter planes and gunship helicopters and soon we will target them again,” he told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The armed forces have been waging a bloody campaign against the Taleban in the northwest in recent years and militants frequently attack military targets.
In May 2011 it took 17 hours to quell an assault claimed by the Taleban on an air base in Karachi.
Pakistan says more than 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Its forces have for years been battling homegrown militants in the northwest.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education is planning to increase the role of its subsidiary committees in the region and governorates to address the issue of schools increasing the fees on one pretext or another.A source in the ministry has been quoted as s...
JEDDAH: In view of a delay by Twitter in blocking the accounts of Daesh and its supporters, Saudi Twitterati have launched an online campaign demanding closure of these accounts which are being used to spread terror by those who have links with the...
JEDDAH: A young Saudi, who was born disabled, is today considered the best and most famous painter and designer in the Kingdom, professionals working in the area say.Despite being handicapped by birth, Rakan Kurdi, 22, has never given up and has mana...
DAMMAM: All Saudi airports, particularly King Fahd International Airport (KFIA) in Dammam, lack a tourism attraction strategy which requires a formal decision from the government, said Saeed Al-Qahtani, an investor in the tourism sector.He said: “In...
JEDDAH: Interpol is looking for two Saudis — a former Jeddah mayor and former president of a sports club — who have been convicted in cases related to the 2009 flash floods here.The ex-mayor was sentenced to seven years in prison while the sports off...
RIYADH: The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently discussed here the scope of cooperation with the Kingdom’s Public Education Evaluation Commission (PEEC) in the field of education.The delegation was headed...
RIYADH: Investors and proprietors of recruitment offices have blamed the Ministry of Labor for the rise in the number of illegal brokers, saying that some of the rules are actually counterproductive and promoting black market.The ministry has put a c...
DAMMAM: A period of 20 months will be granted to deliver residential apartments for beneficiaries in the Eastern Province, starting from the day of delivering land to developers, and not from the date of signing the contract with them, according to a...
ALKHOBAR: Bribery can be eliminated by applying the laws strictly and creating public awareness besides an active role by citizens, experts say.Abdulrahman Al-Zahian, a researcher in legal affairs and public policy, said: “The Saudi anti-bribery law...
JEDDAH: Zuhair Rahbeeni, a consultant at the Pediatric and Clinical Genetics Department of Medical Genetics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, said that the criteria used for premarital health examinations fall short of proper st...
JEDDAH: The police in Jeddah found a runaway girl after 17 days. A news website reported that she had gone missing after she took a taxi on one of Jeddah's roads.The mother of the girl said that the police found the girl on Friday after 17 days. She...
JEDDAH: Since the launch of the Asir Initiative, “Asir … a major tourism destination all year round,” under the patronage of Asir Governor and Chairman of the Tourism Development Council Prince Faisal bin Khalid at the end of 2013, the region has man...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU), which is leading the vanguard in promoting and supporting scientific research in the Kingdom, will host the Saudi international conference on scientific publishing for 2015 to discuss issues and challenges surround...
RIYADH: The National Committee for Contractors (NCC) at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) and representatives from the Ministry of Labor denied on Sunday delays in releasing SR2,400 in compensation to contractors once the criteria have been finaliz...
MAKKAH: Being at the front of the House of God and the peace and tranquility in the Grand Mosque are feelings that cannot be described, said Egyptian pilgrim Abdul Rahman Mustafa.The Umrah pilgrim appeared to be very happy and content. “Thank God, I...

Stay Connected

Facebook