Death Toll Rises to 36, in Brazen Taliban Attack at Pakistan's Karachi Airport

Karachi Airport employees being escorted out of Jinnah International Airport. Photo tweeted by Dawn_com

Karachi Airport employees being escorted out of Jinnah International Airport. Photo tweeted by @Dawn_com

Last update at 04:50 GMT, June 10.

Following hours of digging, seven more bodies were recovered from a collapsed cold storage facility at Karachi's Jinnah International, 32 hours after militants launched their six-hour siege at Pakistan's busiest airport, bringing the death toll from the brazen attack to 36. 

A few hours after the Pakistan military had cleared the airport of militants, Pakistani journalist Noman Ahmed reported that 7 employees with the shipping company Gerry's were still stuck in a warehouse at the airport that partially collapsed during the assault. 

According to Pakistan's leading English daily Dawn, the employees had taken refuge in the cold-storage facility to escape the carnage, but a wall of the warehouse collapsed trapping them. They were in contact with their family during the attack:

“We are looking into this and according to the families some seven people were trapped inside the cold storage and were in contact with the families on cell phone,” said Abid Qaimkhani, a spokesman for CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). Earlier last night, the families of the seven airport workers had blocked Shahra e Faisal [main road] demanding that authorities work towards freeing their relatives who were trapped.

The militants reportedly entered from an old terminal reserved for cargo and VIP movement, with fake Airport Security Force IDs, automatic weapons, grenades and RPGs. The airport reopened for travel, 17 hours after the initial attack.

The 6-hour siege which started in the late hours of Sunday June 8, left 28 people dead, 10 of whom were militants. No passengers was killed in the brazen attack. Eighteen people from the airport staff, Pakistan's national airline and security forces were also killed.

The Siege

Just before 5 am, Pakistan time, the military's chief spokesman tweeted that the last of the attackers had been killed. The spokesman was giving live updates of the military operation at the airport throughout the night.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the brazen attack saying it was revenge for the army's air strikes along the Afghan border.

One suicide bomber blew himself up during the attack. All passengers who were stranded in aircrafts during the siege were safely moved into the main terminal building after the initial siege ended. Militants also damaged three empty parked airplanes.

Photo tweeted by Twitter user @ahsannagi #KarachiAirport. Pic by a friend stuck there - M. Qasim. #Rangers can be seen.

Photo tweeted by Twitter user @ahsannagi #KarachiAirport. “Pic by a friend stuck there – M. Qasim. #Rangers can be seen at the Airport”

Live tweets from on the runway

This Twitter user – Syed Saim Rizvi – was stranded on an Emirates plane at the airport during the siege:

Earlier he tweeted:

How the attack unfolded

While the attack and the operation was underway some praised the Twitter account @AirportPakistan:

History repeats itself?

Some people compared the latest attack at Karachi's airport to the Mehran Naval Base attack that happened in Karachi in 2011.

While media channels were reporting on the military operation, some complained about lack of security around the airport area.

Irresponsible reporting

Unfortunately, as is typical of breaking news coverage, there were conflicting reports regarding the number of attackers, as well as other rumors regarding a plane being burned down or hijacked, here are some reactions from Twitter in response to shoddy media reports:


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