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Violence rocks Pakistan city; 9 killed

By Nasir Habib
December 15, 2012 -- Updated 2003 GMT (0403 HKT)
Map: Peshawar, Pakistan
Map: Peshawar, Pakistan
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Many people were hurt
  • The airport was cordoned off
  • Peshawar is near the Pakistani tribal region

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least nine people died after three rockets were fired toward an airport in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, authorities said Saturday.

The Bacha Khan International Airport was cordoned off after the rocket fire, senior police official Imran Shahid said.

Syed Naveed Qamar, Pakistan's defense minister, said on Geo News five attackers were killed. Qamar said the target could be an airforce base, which is adjacent to the airport. Both the airport and the air base have the same entrance.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said after the attackers fired the rockets they tried but failed to drive an explosives-laden vehicle into the airport. The vehicle struck the airport's outer wall, blew up and killed the militants.

Other than the attackers, four civilians were also killed, Shahid said. He said 35 people were injured as well. Two of the rockets landed inside the airport and the other struck outside the facility.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility of the attack. Taliban official Ehsanullah Ehsan said their target was in fact the air base.

"We have planned more attacks on Pakistani forces and its installation as it works to please the USA," Ehsan said.

Peshawar is near Pakistan's volatile tribal region. Militants have a strong presence in that region, which borders Afghanistan.

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