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Karachi attack: THAI crew and passengers safe

THAI plane caught in airport drama after terror attack on Sunday night

All passengers on a THAI jet that was among aircraft stranded at Pakistan's besieged Karachi International Airport yesterday were safe, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said.

The airport was attacked on Sunday night by Taliban gunmen, resulting in 28 deaths - including 10 militants, as well as security personnel and airport workers.

The TG508 flight was due to leave after 2pm yesterday as the six-hour siege ended and the airport was cleared.

The flight arrived at the airport from Muscat and was scheduled initially to leave for Bangkok near midnight on Sunday. It failed to leave after the raid occurred and authorities shut down the airport for 24 hours.

Sek said the 296 passengers and the 16 crew were taken to safe reception rooms inside the airport. Three passengers and the crew were Thai.

Sek added that the Thai embassy in Pakistan and Thai consulate-general in Karachi have been ordered to closely monitor the situation in Pakistan. Thai consular officials in Karachi would cooperate and discuss with local administrators and leaders on safety and security in the city. Thais and students in Karachi would also be warned and told about the situation.

"Although the attack took place in the Karachi International Airport, we can't know for sure about the situation in the future. The Thai Embassy in Islamabad will hold discussions with the Pakistani government about the safety for Thai communities in the country," Sek said.

Pakistani troops fought an all-night battle yesterday after Taliban gunmen armed with rocket launchers and suicide vests besieged Karachi airport.

The attack at Jinnah International Airport began just before midnight on Sunday. At dawn the military said all 10 attackers had been killed.

After authorities declared the airport cleared around dawn, an AFP reporter witnessed fresh gunfire breaking out inside the airport - where explosions and fires had erupted during the night - prompting security forces to relaunch the operation.


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