Gunmen fire on passenger airliner at Pakistani Peshawar airport


Gunmen fired on a Pakistan International Airlines plane as it landed in the northern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday night, killing a woman on board and injuring three crew members in the third incident at a Pakistani airport this month.

The plane was carrying 178 passengers travelling from Saudi Arabia when it came under attack, policeman Asghar Khan said at the airport.

The plane was hit by six bullets, police said, killing the Pakistani woman and narrowly missing the captain. At least one bullet struck the plane’s engine, police said.

The woman’s daughter was sitting next to her when she was shot in the head, PIA official Mohammad Kifayatullah Khan said.

“When I went inside the plane, I saw the woman lying on the seat and her nine-year-old daughter was crying, ‘My mother is dead, my mother is dead’,” said Khan.

“All the passengers were panicked. Some of them wanted to get out as soon as possible because they were afraid of fire inside the plane.”

The incident will raise further questions about whether the government is really prepared to retaliate against the Taliban after it announced a military operation to flush the militants from their mountain strongholds in North Waziristan on June 15.

Pakistani jets have pounded suspected militant hideouts and the Taliban have vowed counter attacks.

Last month, fighter jets killed more than 100 militants including some key Taliban commanders in the tribal area after a series of attacks against the military.

Violence has surged in Pakistan after a government effort to engage Taliban in a peace process ended without making any significant headway.


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