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Militants Storm Karachi Airport, Pilgrims Killed Near Iran Border

June 08, 2014
by RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

Heavily armed gunmen have attacked one of Pakistan's busiest airports, with reports early on June 9 saying at least seven people had been killed as a fierce battle continued.

Meanwhile, in southwestern Pakistan, 23 Shi'ite Muslims were killed by suicide attackers shortly after they had returned from a pilgrimage in Iran.

The dead in the attack at Karachi's international airport reportedly include four security officers, one flight attendant, and two of the attackers.

The attackers stormed the airport's old terminal building on June 8, shortly before midnight (local time), throwing hand grenades and firing assault rifles in a building now used mostly for cargo and the transit of VIP passengers.

A fire was raging in the old terminal building in the early morning hours of June 9.

Pakistan's army has surrounded the airport and incoming flights were being diverted.

But some flights also were stranded on the ground as the battle raged nearby.

Commandos reportedly boarded at least one of those planes, and panicked passengers were being told to stay on board.

As the attack at the airport was underway, suicide bombers in southwestern Pakistan killed 23 Shi'ite pilgrims who were staying at a hotel near the border with Iran.

Baluchistan Province's Home Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti says four attackers targeted the pilgrims in the border town of Tuftan.

Bugti said one of the attackers was killed by security guards who were traveling with the pilgrims.

But he said the other three managed to get inside the hotel where they blew themnselves up.

That attack also wounded 10 people.

It was not immediately clear whether there was a connection between the attack in Tuftan and the attack by militants on Karachi's international airport.

With reporting by AP and Reuters

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/article/25414794.html

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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