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Taliban attack on Peshawar airport leaves 5 dead

Taliban attack on Peshawar airport leaves 5 dead

PESHAWAR: At least five people were killed and near 40 injured after terrorists attacked the Bacha Khan International Airport here on Saturday, Geo News reported.

All the attackers, who were five in number, were armed with explosives, rocket launchers, assault rifles, and suicide vests, security sources said.

"First the attackers breached the airport boundary wall with a car-bomb. Then they fired rockets at the airport to make headway" said an official.

That was when the security forces opened fire at the invading insurgents who fired back giving rise to a fierce gunfight.

"The crossfire continued until security-men neutralized all the five attackers", the official added.

Sources revealed the bodies of two terrorists wearing suicide vests were still lying inside the airport.

"Four suicide vests have been defused so far", security sources told Geo News.

The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has taken credit for the attack.

The TTP spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan said they had fielded ten men to target the air force base.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF), however said all the sensitive installations were safe.

A PAF spokesman said that the terrorists attacked the airport to destroy the air force base.

"The attackers fired rockets to make their way into the airport but the security forces kept them at bay. They could not enter the premises", said the PAF spokesman.

The spokesmen also added that the security forces were in control of the situation and stood alert.

The airport was sealed after rockets and bullets rained on it form all sides as it was hard to nail the location of the attackers.

"At least five rockets were fired at the airport", sources said quoting security forces.

Earlier three loud explosions were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's capital, but later they turned out to be rocket fire near airport.

Heavy gunfire erupted after a third explosion inside the airport on top of two earlier rocket attacks.

In the beginning, it was hard to say for sure who were the attackers and what was on their mind as no one was allowed to enter the airport, sources said.

"There was no knowing what's going on. Security forces have sealed the airport after besieging it. All the roads leading to the airport have been blocked as well", sources told Geo News.

Sources also said that the shooting that came on the heels of blasts subsided as soon as security forces took control of the airport, however sporadic firing continued.

Senior Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Bashir Bilour while talking to media persons confirmed a vehicle was destroyed in the attack but denied any casualties.

He, however, said that he had knowledge whatsoever as to what the situation was inside the Peshawar airport at that time.

On the other hand sources in Khyber Teaching Hospital confirmed fatalities and dozens of cases of serious injuries.

"We received injured with bullet, shrapnel, rocket shell casing wounds. Some of them are critical", the hospital administrator told Geo News.

Some injured were also shifted to Lady Reading Hospital.

Women and children are also among the injured as two rockets fell (on the residential area) outside and three inside the airport premises.

The blast, after the explosives loaded onto a vehicle went off near the airport wall, did most of the damage in the residential area bordering the airport.

Furthermore one of the rockets also struck a residential block with a loud bang which shattered the windowpanes of the buildings close-by.

Airport operations were put on halt. All the arrivals were diverted to other airports. A lone commercial jet on the airport, which could not fly in the wake of the attack, was reported to be undamaged.

Aerial surveillance of the affected area was also underway.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told media that all the arrivals have been diverted to Islamabad and Lahore airports. He said that only a commercial aircraft was present at the airport when the attack took place.

The spokesman added that passengers who have been waiting in the airport for their scheduled flight to Jeddah were safely shifted to lounge.

Sources added that airport has not been cleared so far.

The search and clearance operation would continue until all the potential threats were removed, said an official.

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