Karachi airport siege: At least 27 dead as Pakistan security forces end confrontation with Taliban militants
Pakistani security forces have cleared the Karachi airport of militants nearly 12 hours after the start of a siege that left at least 27 people dead, a paramilitary official said. Pakistani security forces have cleared the Karachi airport of militants nearly 12 hours after the start of a siege that left at least 27 people dead, a paramilitary official said. "The attack is over and we have cleared the area of all militants," paramilitary Rangers spokesman Sibtain Rizvi told reporters. Security forces were forced to relaunch the military operation several hours after they had first announced the siege was over. The initial assault at the Jinnah International Airport began late Sunday (local time) and raged until dawn, when the military said 10 attackers had been killed. Equipped with suicide vests, grenades and rocket launchers, they had battled security forces in one of the most brazen attacks in years in Pakistan's biggest city. Among the remaining victims were security personnel and airport workers. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack in revenge for their late leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in November. "We carried out the attack on Karachi airport to avenge the death of Hakimullah Mehsud," Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, dismissing the Pakistani government's recent offer of peace talks as a "tool of war". Pakistan's paramilitary force had earlier said a group of foreign fighters, including ethnic Uzbeks, was involved in the airport attack. The militants had entered the airport through a maintenance area and immediately began firing on security guards. A number of terrorists are believed to have reached the runway area and army commandos sealed the section off. Pakistani security personnel arrive at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.