Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility for Karachi airport attack that left 28 dead

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The Pakistani Taliban threatened more violence Monday after claiming responsibility for an attack that killed 28 people at the country’s busiest airport in Karachi Sunday.

Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, said in a statement Monday that the insurgents carried out the attack at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi as “revenge for the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud,” the Taliban chief who died in a U.S. drone strike last November.

In a telephone call to the Associated Press, Shahid, warned that “such attacks will continue until there is a permanent ceasefire.”

The assault started late Sunday when 10 gunmen disguised as policemen opened fire with machine guns and a rocket launcher and stormed one of the airport’s terminals. Officials said all the passengers were immediately evacuated and that police regained control of the airport after about five hours of fighting.

Reuters reported that the building the militants stormed was the airport’s old terminal, which is used mainly for charter and executive flights.

Some of the gunmen wore Airport Security Force uniforms, according to an official at the scene near the terminal. All the attackers wore explosives vests, some of which were detonated when they were shot at by police, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

“They were well trained. Their plan was very well thought out,” Chief Minister of Sindh province Qaim Ali Shah told reporters. He said the militants intended to destroy some of the aircraft and buildings but were not successful. The spokesman for the Pakistani military said on Twitter that no aircraft were damaged.

Rizwan Akhtar, the chief of Pakistan’s paramilitary force, said that all 10 “terrorists” who attacked the airport had been killed. At least 18 people were killed besides the attackers, mostly airport security or other airport personnel, according to Seemi Jamali from Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital.

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