Security forces kill all airport attackers
* Militants who fled after the attack were holed up in an under-construction house near airport
* Soldier, cop also killed
PESHAWAR: A joint operation by the army and police on Sunday killed five terrorists who had escaped after the Saturday attack on a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Peshawar, military and a provincial minister said.
The joint operation was launched in Pawaka suburb of Peshawar where the terrorists, identified as Uzbek nationals, had taken refuge in an under-construction house, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters, adding the terrorists battled for hours before being killed.
A soldier and a cop were also killed in the operation, according to military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa. “All the remaining terrorists were killed,” the spokesman added.
“Two terrorists blew themselves up when they were surrounded by security forces while three others were killed by forces’ fire,” Peshawar police chief Imtiaz Altaf told reporters.
“All five militants are dead now and the area has been cleared. All of them were wearing suicide jackets,” Altaf said.
A PAF statement said five attackers were killed on Saturday and no damage was done to air force personnel or equipment, though Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed the assault had damaged “several helicopters and aircraft”.
“The base is in total control and normal operations have resumed. The security alert was also raised on other PAF air bases as well,” the air force added.
The air force said Saturday’s attackers used two vehicles loaded with explosives, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. One vehicle was destroyed and the second badly damaged.
Security forces found three suicide jackets near one of the vehicles, it said.
“Security forces consisting of Pakistan Air Force and army personnel who were on full alert, cordoned off the base and effectively repulsed the attack,” the air force said.
The PAF base is also used by Civil Aviation Authority for civilian flights – both domestic and international.
The Baacha Khan International Airport was, meanwhile, reopened and a Dubai-bound flight and some domestic flights took off in afternoon. The airport was closed at around 8.25pm on Saturday following the attack. “Some 22 flights were disturbed due to Saturday night attack,” CAA sources said, adding that all flights were being cleared one-by-one.
Meanwhile, air chief Tahir Rafique Butt visited the PAF base and was briefed about security operation against the terrorists.
The air chief, while interacting with PAF officers and security personnel who jointly conducted the operation, commended their courage, valour and spirit to defend the vital national assets.
Butt also lauded the timely and efficient response of commanders and troops of the PAF base.
Pawaka is close to the airport and the Sunday operation followed intelligence reports that the remaining five terrorists were holed up in an under-construction house. staff report/afp