KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani airport authorities found seven bodies in a burned building at the Karachi international airport on Tuesday, bringing the death toll from the attack there to 36, including the 10 Taliban attackers, officials said.
The news came as the Pakistani military pounded targets in the northwest tribal region near the Afghan border earlier in the day, killing 15 militants, the army said.
The discovery of the bodies, roughly a day after Pakistani officials said the airport had been secured, is sure to raise more questions about security at the country's busiest airport.
The remains of the seven victims were brought to Karachi's Jinnah Hospital on Tuesday morning, said Dr. Seemi Jamali. They were charred beyond recognition, said the head of the Karachi Municipal Corporation, Rauf Akhtar Farooqi.
The bodies were found in a burned building in the airport, inside a cold storage unit but it was unclear how they got there or who they were. Pakistani media were reporting that the seven were airport workers who had hidden inside the unit from the fighting but got trapped and burned to death.
A group of 10 militants, some disguised as police, attacked the airport on Sunday night and battled with Pakistani forces for roughly five hours before the Karachi airport siege was over. The Pakistani Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed more violence.
The Pakistani Taliban has been trying to overthrow the government and establish its hard-line rule across the country. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tried repeatedly to negotiate with the militants to end the fighting but those efforts have gone off the rails in recent weeks.
The airport attack, coming against a high-profile target in a city vital to the country's economy, has raised questions about whether Sharif will continue to pursue the negotiations policy or choose a more aggressive, military response.
Associated Press writers Rebecca Santana and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad contributed to this report.