Five dead in siege of Pakistan’s Karachi airport

Pakistani military troops have been called in and police are fighting the attackers

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Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan’s busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, killing five and forcing the suspension of all flights, officials said.

Shaukat Jamal, a spokesman for the Airport Security Force, says there were initial reports that at least four security officers had been wounded, but he had no other information. Pakistani television stations aired live footage of what appeared to be a major fire at the airport, with the silhouette of a jet seen, Reuters reported.

Jamal said the Pakistani military troops have been called in and that police are fighting the attackers.

Dr. Seemi Jamali of Jinnah Hospital said five bodies had been brought there, as well as one wounded person, according to the Associated Press.

The attack happened at a terminal not generally used for commercial flights but for special VIP flights.

Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city and has been the site of frequent militant attacks in the past.

Senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwar said the militants were armed with automatic weapons and grenades and were exchanging gunfire with security officials.

“Exchange of fire is continuing. We don’t know the exact number of the attackers but suspect four to six terrorists have attacked the airport,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The attackers reportedly forged fake ID cards and entered the area, with around eight to ten involved in a skirmish with security forces, Pakistani news site Dawn.com reported.

(With the Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP)