Details remain fairly scant at this point, but it appears that Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan has come under terrorist attack by gunmen strapped with explosives. The sky is bright red over NE Karachi and explosions continue to rock the airport's apron area.
UPDATE: Check out this guy that live-tweeted the attack from inside an airliner waiting to takeoff as the airport was closed!
An older terminal and maintenance area used for VIP traffic and cargo, along with airport offices and other administrative facilities, located on south-west side of the airport was the area targeted in the attack. It is not clear whether or not a specific VIP or aircraft was targeted but reports say that empty magazines are littered all over a maintenance and engineering section of the terminal where an exchange of fire was initiated with airport security personnel. The attackers are said to have been dressed in airport specific uniforms and carrying automatic weapons, grenades and suicide vests.
Meanwhile an account described an attacker dressed in an airport uniform that attempted to steal an air-side vehicle was shot by security forces in the process. He then he blew himself up.
A gun battle is ongoing (has since ended at 5Pm PST) and multiple loud explosions have been heard coming from the tarmac area. As of now reports state that 20 people are confirmed dead, with ten of them being gunmen. The number of non-fatal causalities is unknown at this time but is said to be fairly large.
Multiple reports are coming in from Twitter and Facebook saying that the assault was an attempted hijacking that went bad and that there are multiple aircraft effected. Plane Spotters Bangladesh reports:
We have received news that 7 aircraft have completely been destroyed that included 1 Cargolux 747 & 1 PIA A310 (AP-BDZ). An ATR from PIA and an Airblue bird has been damaged as well. Thai 333 (HS-TEL) bearing Star Alliance livery has also been damaged as rumored. She is suggested to be on the tarmac as during the time of attack she getting ready to depart KHI. An EK 77W (A6-EBP) is also suggested to be in the same predicament.
Meanwhile, other reports say that far fewer aircraft, if any, were heavily damaged in the attack and reports that there was an explosion in a large maintenance hangar located close to the headquarters of Pakistani Airlines are numerous although any damage regarding it has not been disclosed. Also, it is being widely reported that at least on of the attacking teams, of which there seems to have been two, was after a fuel farm located on the southern side of the airport.
Keep in mind this is the most specific information I have as of 5:10 PST, and it all could all change as the area is secured and witnesses are interviewed.
Attacking an airport is nothing new when it comes to extremist militant groups operating in and around Pakistan. On may 11th, 2001, terrorists attacked Mehran Naval Station near Karachi, which is a key naval air power base for Pakistan. Five P-3 Orion sea control and surveillance aircraft were completely destroyed in the assault. Interestingly, during that attack it was also said that the men involved were dressed in base-specific uniforms, had automatic rifles and were strapped with explosives.
UPDATE: The military, via the New York Times, is reporting that the siege ended around 5:00 am local time when the last of the militants was killed.