Airport reopened for civilian traffic after 17 hours

Saturday night’s attack on the Peshawar airport by terrorists was followed by fierce fighting in the vicinity on Sunday after locals reported that some armed intruders were holed up in an under-construction building.

Backed by the Quick Response Team of the Army, the area police raided the building resulting in two suicide bombers detonating themselves and an intense gun-battle between the terrorists and security personnel. After several hours, the terrorists were killed and the building secured.

In all, 10 terrorists have been killed in the operation that began at the Bacha Khan International Airport around 9 p.m. on Saturday night. According to the Director-General of the Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, at least five of the terrorists looked like Uzbeks.

The initial attack on the airport left five terrorists dead. According to Major General Bajwa, this was a multi-pronged attack. First, rockets were fired at the airport , which also houses a base of the Pakistan Air Force and the Army’s Aviation Wing, followed by attempts by terrorists to enter the premises from two sides.

While five terrorists rammed their explosives-laden vehicle into one wall of the airport and ran off, firing and lobbing grenades when met with retaliatory fire, terrorists drove another vehicle — equally filled with explosives — into another boundary wall of the sprawling compound. When their vehicle was fired upon, the explosives in this case were detonated, resulting in the death of five terrorists.

Police are working on the premise that the five terrorists holed up in the under-construction building were actually those who had fled from the airport on Saturday after they failed to breach it.

Evoking memories

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack — which brought back memories of the attacks on the Mehran base in Karachi in 2011 and Kamra base in Attock in August this year. While taking responsibility, TTP spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan had said 10 terrorists were involved in the operation.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar Airport reopened for civilian traffic in the afternoon after 17 hours. The provincial administration claimed that the security personnel were successful in repulsing this attack because they had prior information of a possible attempt to besiege the airport which is used by the military to mount air assaults on terrorists in the tribal areas.

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