Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

21 die in attack on Pakistan airport

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Militants launched a brazen attack on Karachi's international airport Sunday night, killing at least 11 people and seizing control of part of the airport in Pakistan's largest city for more than five hours.

The well-coordinated attack involved 10 assailants who were armed with grenades, rocket launchers and assault weapons, authorities said. Some of them were also said to be wearing suicide vests. They battled Pakistani security forces through the night before all the assailants were slain, officials said.

Several large fires broke out at the airport, but all airline passengers escaped unharmed, according to a Pakistani army spokesman.

But the siege, one of the worst security breaches at a Pakistani airport, is raising serious questions about the country's ability to protect its major transit hubs amid the persistent threat of terrorism. The attack comes as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the country's military have been considering a major offensive against the Pakistani Taliban, which has been waging a bloody insurgency.

"This act of terror is unforgivable," Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan's defense minister, told local television reporters. "The state will give an appropriate response to such cowardly acts of terror. Those who plan and those who execute the terrorist attacks will be defeated."

There was no immediate assertion of responsibility for the attack.

It was unclear how such an assault could occur at what is supposed to be a heavily fortified airport. The attack, which began at 11 p.m. and lasted until dawn, is likely to be another blow to Pakistan's efforts to lure international business to help its struggling economy.

"I would not want to send any nonmilitary, non-law-enforcement personnel into that area at this moment," Terrance Gainer, a security consultant and former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, said in an interview. He said U.S. security and antiterrorism officials would undoubtedly be scrutinizing the attack to learn how it occurred.

According to preliminary information from Pakistani security officials, the attack began when about five assailants gained access to Jinnah International Airport, apparently shooting their way through a gate near the old terminal. At least five others entered separately; they may have blasted their way through a wall near the cargo area, officials said.

Amjad Shah, a Karachi police official, said at least some of the militants were wearing uniforms used by security forces.

Once inside, the militants began lobbing grenades and took up positions near the runway and in the airport's cargo area. One senior Pakistani intelligence official, who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to discuss security issues, said some of the militants intended to hijack a plane but were unsuccessful.

All arriving flights were quickly diverted from the airport, which serves 6 million passengers annually. Three international flights were scheduled to leave between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., going to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Bangkok; and Dubai. But all passengers at the airport were evacuated safely, according to Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, the spokesman for Pakistan's military and security agencies.

About 90 minutes after the attack began, hundreds of Pakistani army commandos arrived on the scene and began battling the militants.

Hospital officials said that at least 11 people were killed by the assailants — eight airport security personnel, a Pakistan International Airlines employee, a police sub-inspector and an official with Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority.

About 5 a.m. today, Bajwa reported that the siege had ended after all the attackers were killed. Bajwa said that eight of them were shot and that two blew themselves up once cornered.

Comments
Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

TAMPA — Many times during Sinfonietta, Leoš Janácek’s notoriously difficult but joyous work, it was impossible for a regular patron of the Florida Orchestra to escape this observation: They have never sounded quite like this.This isn’t to say musicia...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Forecast: Tampa Bay’s bitter cold snap is finally over

Tampa Bay is finally clear of the bitter chill that covered the region this week as temperatures picked up on Saturday. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around t...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Updated: 4 hours ago
More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

Florida’s dip into frigid temperatures did more than just stun humans unused to such cold air. This month scientists and volunteers have rescued more than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles from a single bay in the Florida Panhandle.The U.S. Geological S...
Published: 01/20/18
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then I’m a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then I’m a Hollywood stud

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They aren’t just up for debate, they...
Updated: 3 hours ago
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON — The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Friday’s scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Published: 01/19/18

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Published: 01/19/18