Taliban militants today attacked a training camp of the Airport Security Force outside Karachi international airport, but fled after Pakistani forces repulsed the assault, a day after an all-night siege at the facility left nearly 40 people dead.
The militants opened indiscriminate fire on a security post located at the ASF academy in Bitai Abad, near the Jinnah International Airport which had been cleared of militants after fierce clashes between forces and terrorists yesterday.
The army's press wing said there were three or four attackers on motorbikes while an ASF spokesman said there were two.
"Two people came towards the ASF (Airport Security Force) checkpost and started firing," Colonel Tahir Ali, a spokesman for the ASF told reporters.
"Nobody has been killed or injured," he added.
Army spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said three to four assailants were involved.
"3-4 terrorists fired near ASF camp, ran away. No breach of fence, no entry. Chase is on, situation under control," he tweeted.
Airport operations were resumed after temporarily being suspended for the second time in as many days.
The attackers failed to penetrate the security cordon and managed to flee into nearby congested residential areas.
The ASF spokesman said the incident had been played up and dismissed reports about five terrorists entering the base camp and engaging the security forces.
"The fact is that two men on a motorcycle came this morning to gate D of our camp and fired on two lady ASF officials on duty there but as soon as our forces retaliated and took positions after a brief exchange of fire they fled into the neighbourhood of Pehalwan Goth," Ali said.
"The Pakistan army is also carrying out surveillance from helicopters and the situation is under control. The Jinnah international airport is in control of the authorities," he said.
A spokesman for the Pakistan International Airlines said flight schedule had been disrupted as passengers and visitors to the Jinnah airport were evacuated to safe locations after the attack at the ASF camp this morning
"Some flights were disturbed and a foreign airline flight to Dubai couldn't take off on time due to the disturbance but now the airport and runaway is under total control of security forces and operations are getting back to normal," he said.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
"Today's attack on ASF (Airport Security Force) in Karachi is in response to the bombardment on innocent people in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas. We will continue such attacks," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, referring to Pakistani air strikes of suspected militant hideouts.
This is the same area from where a group of 10 terrorists, who attacked and laid siege to the old Karachi airport on Sunday night, gained access to the restricted site.
Eleven airport security guards, along with a paramilitary ranger and a policeman, 14 civilian workers and 10 militants were killed in the previous attack.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan today briefed parliament on yesterday's attack.
He said that security forces responded effectively to the attack at the airport and completed the operation in just two hours and fifteen minutes.
"The operation was over by 1:45 am as all terrorist were killed," Khan said.
He said that the attackers were not Pakistani, nor from a neighbouring country as their bodies and facial features were different. He said they were fair, tall and had light facial hair.
Earlier, chief of paramilitary Rangers Major General Rizwan said that they looked liked Uzbek, Chechens or Afghans.
Khan said the attack started at 11:05 pm but the attackers faced tough resistance from Air Port Security (ASF) force personnel deployed at the gate and three ASF guards held the militants for 15 minutes.
Khan also criticised the Sindh provincial government for failing to spot heavily armed militants who were roaming in the city in a vehicle before the attack.
He said that the center had issued at least six security alerts to the province.
The National Assembly unanimously passed two resolutions today condemning the attacks on the Karachi airport and Shia pilgrims in Taftan.