Conflicting reports emerge over an attack on the airport security force academy in Karachi, with one senior officials saying the incident was a “misunderstanding”.
Security personnel rushed to the ASF academy in Karachi on Tuesday morning after shots were fired. Ambulances were also shown rushing to the scene, and there were television reports that five to seven assailants had attacked the academy.
At the moment the situation is 100 per cent under control. No terrorist is in the area. No one was able to penetrate the area. Colonel Tahir Ali
Pakistani television channel ARY reported that ASF Deputy Director, Intelligence, Abbas Memon, had confirmed the incident was a terrorist attack. However, later on Tuesday, Lieutenant Sajjad Ghani, corps commander Karachi, said there was “no attack whatsoever.”
Lieutenant Ghani, who was commanding the operation, has briefed Pakistan’s army chief, Raheel Sharif, that the attack was in fact a misunderstanding.
A senior police official, Superintendant Rao Anwaar Ahmed, said someone had fired into the air causing panic, triggering the response from security personnel present – who were in the area following the attack on Karachi’s airport. The airport attack, which began on Sunday night, left at least 34 people dead.
However, the Airport Security Force has said that two men riding a motorcycle did attack the academy, firing shots and fleeing when security forces retaliated.
ASF spokesman Colonel Tahir Ali told journalists: ”According to information two attackers on motorcyle came around Gate D (of the compound) and fired near women’s hostel.
“They ran towards the ASF camp behind the living quarters after they fell off their bike. Security troops acted immediately and cleared the quarters. They took positions atop the high water tanks and cleared the entire area.
“Meanwhile, we informed the rangers, the army and the police. Their units too arrived immediately.
“At the moment the situation is 100 per cent under control. No terrorist is in the area. No one was able to penetrate the area.”
He denied reports that five suspected terrorists had been shot dead, and said security forces were now searching a shanty settlement that borders the academy.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the “attack”.
We have claimed the responsibility of the attack on the Karachi ASF camp and headquarter.
TTP central spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.
— omar khorasani (@omarkhorasani1) June 10, 2014
Flights in and out of Karachi’s airport were suspended on Tuesday morning, but have since resumed.
Pakistan’s air force attacked “terrorist hideouts” on Tuesday, after more bodies were discovered at the Karachi airport. The army’s press wing said on Tuesday it had destroyed nine terrorist hideouts and killed at least 15 militants.
“Nine terrorist hideouts were destroyed by early morning military air strikes near the Pakistan-Afghan border,” the army’s press wing said. No other details were immediately available.
The tribal area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, especially in North Waziristan, is home to a large Taliban presence. The army has periodically bombed suspected insurgent hideouts in the region, but has yet to launch a major offensive to flush out militants.
On Monday, the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the Karachi attack, telling Channel 4 News it was retaliation for the killing of a Taliban leader in a US drone strike last year.
Militants disguised as security forces stormed into the airport on Sunday night, armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, and targeted a cargo hold.
On Tuesday, Pakistan rescue workers recovered the bodies of seven people trapped inside the cargo building.
“The bodies are badly charred beyond identification,” said a morgue official who asked not to be named.
The bodies brings the total death toll from the attack to at least 34 people.