The Pakistani Taliban launched a fresh attack Tuesday afternoon near Jinnah International Airport in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, less than 48 hours after an attack by the militant group on one of the country's busiest airports claimed the lives of 36 people.
Militants exchanged heavy gunfire with official troops at the Airport Security Forces, or ASF, security training facility, which is close to the airport, reports said. And though some Indian news agencies, citing local media, reported that five people were killed in the attack, casualties are yet to be officially confirmed. Flight operations reportedly resumed after all flights to and from Karachi had been temporarily suspended even as the attackers reportedly escaped after security forces reached the ASF camp.
"The ASF checkpost is about 100 metres from the scene. We were informed of the incident by our sentry posted there," Colonel Tahir Ali, ASF's deputy director general, told DawnNews.
According to local reports, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered security forces to "eliminate attackers" while Times Now, an India-based news network, cited Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as saying that the militants wanted to prolong the attack by taking hostages.
Ali also reportedly said that two attackers had opened fire near a women's hostel located behind the ASF camp, while local media reported that there were at least 10 attackers armed with rocket launchers and other ammunition.
"Gunmen are exchanging fire with ASF personnel at a checkpost guarding the airport," an ASF spokesman reportedly said earlier, according to Agence France-Presse, while a Reuters report stated that gunfire was heard and four ambulances were seen heading toward the location.
The latest offensive comes hours after Pakistan’s military launched air strikes in the Tirah Valley area of the Khyber tribal district to destroy terrorist hideouts, killing at least 15 people.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, who were behind the attack at the Karachi airport that stretched from late Sunday night until Monday morning, has also reportedly claimed responsibility for the latest attack.