|Pakistani passengers arrive at Jinnah International Airport after militants attack in southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on June 9, 2014. The Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi reopened to passengers on Monday afternoon following Sunday night's terrorist attack that killed 23 people, local media and officials said. (Xinhua/Masroor)
ISLAMABAD, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi reopened to passengers on Monday afternoon following Sunday night's terrorist attack that killed 19 people and injured 25 others, local media and officials said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the country in its statement said that the airport had been reopened to passengers after the security forces declared it clear.
Earlier in the afternoon, the airport was handed back to the CAA after the army completed its sweeping search operation at the airport premises and its surrounding areas.
A spokesperson for Rangers (a paramilitary force) said that the airport was handed back to CAA after it had been thoroughly checked by security forces and it was made sure that there wasn't any trace of explosives left.
Pakistan Prime minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on civil aviation Shujaat Azeem said the airport will be operational at 4: 00 p.m. (local time), more than 16 hours after the terrorist attack started.
During the closure of the airport since 11:20 last night, about 20 flights including seven international flights were affected that were diverted to other airports or canceled.
Prime Minister directed aviation and airport authorities to facilitate passengers by providing them all possible facilities, and to reopen the airport for routine operations without unnecessary delay.
The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has announced its first schedule for two domestic flights, first from Karachi to Islamabad and second from Islamabad to Karachi in the Monday evening.
The incident started at about 11:20 p.m. (local time) on Sunday night when at least 10 heavily armed militants entered the airport terminal, used for cargo and special VIP operations, by lobbing hand grenades and opening fire at the security personnel.
According to the officials, the militants reached the airport premises in a vehicle before splitting into two groups. The assailants, wearing the attire of Airport Security Force (ASF), attacked the airport from two sides with rackets and heavy gun firing.
The drop-scene of the attack happened early Monday morning when all 10 attackers were killed during a joint operation by Pakistan Army, Rangers, ASF and police.
Seemi Jamali, Medical Superintendent Jinnah Hospital Karachi, said that overall 19 bodies and 25 injured were rushed to the hospital where some of the wounded were being treated in intensive care unit.
Jamali said the 10 bodies of the terrorists would also be shifted to the mortuary shortly.
A report about the attack has been submitted to the prime minister, which said the terrorists tried to take control of the airport and wanted to destroy all planes present at the airport, but security forces retaliated and foiled their plan.
On Monday morning, Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack saying that it was launched to retaliate for unannounced military operation at their hideouts in northwestern tribal areas of the country.
Taliban spokesperson Shahidullah Shaid termed the attack as a revenge for the killing of former Taliban chief Hakimulla Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike in Nov. last year and vowed to conduct more such attacks in future.