Terrorists stormed an international airport in Pakistan today and engaged in a long gun battle with security forces, rattling a country's frail sense of peace, Dawn reports. The army, airport security, and other security personnel fought the ten assailants for hours, confining them to two areas of the airport and defeating them, Geo TV reports. The death toll varies by news report, from 13 to 23 (including the terrorists), with 15 to 22 injured. The horror began when the assailants opened fire and hurled grenades on a tarmac at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. "I was working at my office when I heard big blasts—several blasts—and then there were heavy gunshots," an official at Pakistan International Airlines told the AP.
Huge explosions went off during the firefight and plumes of smoke were seen rising from the airport. The gunmen moved toward the runways during the fight, at least at first, and early reports suggested that planes were on fire—but a Pakistani military spokesman later said no planes had been burned and he denied that the terrorists wanted to hijack a plane, the New York Times reports. Word is, the terrorists may have gained access by sneaking in with forged airport-security ID cards. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion quickly fell on the Pakistani Taliban, whose peace talks with the government have sputtered since February. The Taliban has also been battling other militants for control of Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city and most important commercial center. (Read more Karachi stories.)