PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Suicide bombers with rockets attacked the military side of a Pakistani airport in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday, killing four civilians and wounding more than 30, officials said. Five extremists also were killed.
Peshawar is on the edge of Pakistan's tribal region, the main sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists in the country. The city has frequently been attacked in the last few years, but Saturday was the first strike against the airport, which is jointly used by the air force and civilian authorities.
The extremists fired three rockets at the airport, two of which hit a wall ringing the premises, said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is the capital. The third landed near a government building outside the wall, Hussain said.
The extremists also set off a car bomb outside the wall around the airport, causing civilian casualties, according to the military.
The dead and wounded civilians from the attack came from neighborhoods near the airport, said Umar Ayub, a local hospital official. The 36 wounded included six women and three children, and several people were in critical condition, Ayub said.
Five extremists were killed in a gun battle with security forces during the attack, the military said.
However, Zahid Khan, a police explosives expert, said it appeared that three of the extremists were accidentally killed when the car bomb they used to try to break through the airport wall exploded.
Four of the attackers who were killed were wearing suicide vests that have been defused, said the air force.
The air force side of the airport was the target of the attack and authorities were searching the area for any remaining attackers, said Defense Minister Naveed Qamar.