Four persons were killed and 40 people injured as terrorists launched a rocket attack on Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar on Saturday night.
After the attack, the terrorists tried to enter the airport, but security personnel repulsed them in a gunfight.
The attack began around 9 p.m., and security personnel did not declare the airport cleared until after two hours, though they claimed that terrorists could not enter the premises.
All 120 passengers awaiting a commercial flight’s departure at the time of the attack were safe, and flights scheduled to arrive at Peshawar were diverted to either Lahore or Islamabad.
The airport is also used by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). A PAF spokesman was quoted by television channels as saying that none of the PAF assets was damaged in the rocket attack or in the crossfire.
Three of the rockets hit the outer wall of the airport, while two fell outside, in residential areas, injuring residents and damaging some vehicles.
Television channels reported that the terrorists’ bodies with suicide vests were lying nearby, and the explosives were being defused by a bomb squad.
Five militants were killed in a gunbattle with security forces during the attack, said the military.
Four of the attackers who were killed were wearing suicide vests that have been defused, said the air force.
The militants fired three rockets at the airport, two of which hit a wall ringing the premises, said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is the capital. The third landed near a government building outside the wall, Mr. Hussain said.
The militants also set off a car bomb outside the wall around the airport, causing civilian casualties, said the military.
The dead and wounded civilians from the attack came from neighborhoods located near the airport, said Umar Ayub, a local hospital official. The 36 wounded included six women and three children, and several people were in critical condition, said Mr. Ayub.
The air force side of the airport was the target of the attack and authorities were searching the area for any remaining attackers, said Defence Minister Naveed Qamar.
No air force personnel were wounded in the attack and none of the service’s equipment was damaged, the air force said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion will likely fall on the Pakistani Taliban. The militant group has been waging a bloody insurgency against the government for the past several years and has attacked Peshawar many times in the past.