Pakistan closes Peshawar airport amid rise in violence

June 17th, 2009 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 17 (DPA) Pakistani authorities Wednesday temporarily shutdown Peshawar’s international airport amid a rise in Taliban attacks in the northern city.
“Peshawar airport has been closed for the time being due to technical reasons and the flights are being diverted to Islamabad airport,” said Pervez George, a spokesman of country’s Civil Aviation Authority in the southern city of Karachi.

Geroge refused to explain the nature of the “technical reasons” but a duty officer at Peshawar airport said the intelligence reports had indicated that Taliban militants could target the building.

“The airport is quite close to the area where Taliban have already carried out several attacks and the law enforcement agencies told us that they might be planning to target this place,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Peshawar, which is the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and is located some 180 km northwest of Islamabad, has seen more than a dozen suicide and other militant attacks since the government launched a major offensive in NWFP’s Swat and three neighbouring districts.

A suicide bombing killed at least 18 people, including two foreign UN workers, at a five-star hotel in the city June 9.

Two days later, security forces repulsed a militant raid on the residence of a regional army commander in Peshawar, killing two rebels and arresting five after an hour-long shootout.

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