Security force officers are seen near the house where Taliban militants took refuge during a gun battle in Peshawar December 16, 2012. - Photo by Reuters
Security force officers are seen near the house where Taliban militants took refuge during a gun battle in Peshawar December 16, 2012. - Photo by Reuters

PESHAWAR: Six people were killed Sunday as police and troops battled militants armed with automatic weapons, grenades and mortars in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar, a day after a deadly Taliban raid on the city's airport.

Fierce firing broke out after police acting on an intelligence report stormed a building near the airport, where a suicide and rocket attack on Saturday killed five civilians and the five attackers, and wounded 50 other people.

The assault late Saturday, claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, sparked prolonged gunfire and forced authorities to close the airport, a commercial hub and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Peshawar on the edge of the tribal belt.

Police backed by troops launched a raid early Sunday on a building under construction near the airport following reports that five militants who fled after the airport attack had taken refuge there, according to provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

In the fierce shootout that followed, three militants and a policemen were killed, police said, while two other officers were wounded.

The clashes ended after six hours when the two remaining militants detonated their suicide vests inside the building, another senior police officer, Imtiaz Altaf, told AFP.

“All five militants are dead now and the area has been cleared,” Altaf said.

“All of them were wearing suicide jackets. Three were killed in a shoot out with police, while two others blew themselves up in the under construction building.” A PAF statement said five attackers were killed on Saturday and no damage was done to air force personnel or equipment.

Doctor Umar Ayub, chief of Khyber Teaching Hospital near the airport, said five civilians had also been killed and some 50 wounded.

“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.

Peshawar airport is a joint military-civilian facility. Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George said the passenger side had reopened after an 18-hour closure and there was no damage to the terminals.

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.

Television pictures showed a vehicle with a smashed windscreen, another damaged car, bushes on fire and what appeared to be a large breach in a wall.

Five nearby houses were destroyed after rockets landed on them and several other houses developed cracks, while the bomb squad detonated five out of eight bombs found near the base after the attack.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location that the group would continue to target the airport.

“Our target was jet fighter planes and gunship helicopters and soon we will target them again,” he said.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (21)

Khan
December 16, 2012 8:01 am
Due to law and order situation delimitation of Peshawar constituencies are needed now, shahi syed and his brothers should go to Peshawar to defend it
Hamid Khan
December 16, 2012 12:54 pm
And the government wants to negotiate with the Talibans! NEXT!
Guest
December 16, 2012 10:34 pm
Pak Fauj Zindabad
Reality Check Please?
December 16, 2012 10:36 am
Pakistan police is as bad as our neighbours....except that they were late and not complacent in the crime as the Indians were in the Gujrat Riots, Ayodia Masjid etc
Barbara
December 17, 2012 3:09 am
Taliban is trying to ruin the great country Pakistan.
majid
December 16, 2012 8:45 pm
true
paki
December 16, 2012 10:32 am
Taliban is a cancer and should be removed. Previous taliban spokesman who has been captured, should be hanged in the public.
vinodjaiswal35
December 16, 2012 1:12 pm
Our heart felt condolences for the families of the civilians and defence forces who suffered.
A Common Man
December 16, 2012 10:25 am
The Taliban is like Pakistan having caught a Tiger by the tail. It is high time that the public, the military and the government understood what is at stake.These guys are not human. For the sake of your country - unite and take action against them. It is for your own good and for the good of the entire region.
Shahid Masud 12
December 16, 2012 10:21 am
What are we waiting for ?
saad rehman
December 16, 2012 9:01 am
A security official has already said that they were planning and could not go in the second after they were informed because it would have given them an opportunity to escape and could have jeopardised their chances .
Waleed Ikram
December 16, 2012 12:26 pm
Don't just always look at the negatives. These police guys are laying their lives for the country. There are responsible people who will look after the delay in response. For now please praise them and Thank Allah that the attack was repulsed.
skeptic
December 17, 2012 6:17 pm
a job well done . finally some confidence in the security forces
khurram
December 16, 2012 2:52 pm
Well done police, PAF and Army!!! Keep up the good work of hitting Taliban hard when ever they show up.
Naser
December 16, 2012 3:02 pm
This TTP dude should be hunted, anybody harboring him or his likes should not get sympathies regardless of their gender or age. It is national securty.
gyro
December 16, 2012 4:47 pm
are these really TALIBANS? what about tattoos on their back? are we really fighting Taliban or someone else?
Akram
December 16, 2012 10:59 am
What this shows is that the air strikes the PAF have been inflicting on the terrorists have been causing pain. Hence the choice of target. Keep it up and lets destroy these barbarians.
Syed
December 16, 2012 8:35 am
May God send these militants to inferno.
ishrat salim
December 16, 2012 7:40 am
The police reached 4 hrs after they were informed, shows the seriousness of our LEAs....a big ? mark in our effort to fight the menace of terrorism....
Mullah
December 16, 2012 6:29 pm
Why is pakistan not able to control these home grown terrorist?
Mullah
December 16, 2012 6:30 pm
This option requires national concensus.
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