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Gunman Targets Passengers in U.S. Airport | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Travelers and airport workers are evacuated out of the terminal after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. Andrew Innerarity, Reuters

Washington – At least five people have been killed in an attack at Fort Lauderdale airport and eight were injured by a gunman on Friday.

Fort Lauderdale Airport is situated around 21 miles north of Miami. It is the second largest airport in South Florida, serving as an intercontinental gateway, with Miami International Airport known as the primary airport for international flights in the area.

The suspect, identified as Esteban Santiago-Ruiz , allegedly shot at least 13 people during the attack at Fort Lauderdale Airport.

The 26-year-old, carrying military ID, is said to have flown into Florida from Canada, with his handgun in his checked bag.

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was in the airport at the time.

“I’m at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running,” he tweeted.

Later, he added: “All seems calm now, but the police aren’t letting anyone out of the airport – at least, not where I am.”

Minutes later, he added: “The police said there is one shooter and five victims.”

However, officials later revealed there were 13 victims. They said at least five of them had tragically died from their injuries.

Hundreds of airline passengers and employees were evacuated onto the tarmac following the mass shooting.

A video captured inside Terminal 2 shows distraught passengers comforting each other, as others lie injured on the floor.

A post on Fort Lauderdale Airport’s Twitter account at around 1.15 pm local time confirmed there was an “ongoing incident.”

It read: “There is an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim.”

A later post added: “All services are temporarily suspended at FLL. Please contact your air carrier about your flight information.”

A spokesperson for the airport could not immediately be reached for comment.

For his part, Florida Gov. Rick Scott wrote on social media, “I am on my way to Fort Lauderdale International Airport to be briefed by law enforcement.”

National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said, “The President was apprised this afternoon by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco of the shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport and will be kept updated as the investigation unfolds.”