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Terrorists strike at Lahore police training centre

LAHORE: More explosions were heard inside the police training academy in the Manawan area on the outskirts of Lahore where terrorists used machine guns and grenades to launch a savage attack, leaving at least 13 policemen dead and over 90 wounded, Dawn News reported. Two militants have also been killed, Rangers personnel said. The attackers may have blown themselves up in the building this time, police said. Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said 52 police were wounded in the attack but gave no word on the number killed.Punjab Governor Salman Taseer said the authorities had reports of four people confirmed killed, though television news channels put the number of dead at 20.A passerby was also killed during the exchange of fire, a Dawn correspondent said.Army and paramilitary troops laid siege, firing from rooftops of surrounding buildings, while the gunmen returned fire and threw grenades to keep security forces at bay.’Our elite squad has surrounded the area. God willing, now we will get into the building,’ Mushtaq Sukhera, a senior police official, told journalists at the scene.’I have counted 12 bodies but I don’t know exactly how many have been killed,’ said Mohammad Raza, another police officer.Governor Taseer said up to 10 gunmen carried out the assault, though one wounded policeman told a news channel there were up to 20 gunmen in the compound. Over 400 police trainees have been taken hostage, Dawn News reported. The attackers are on the second and third floor of the building, Dawn News quoted a hostage as saying. The assault came less than a month after a dozen gunmen attacked Sri Lanka’s cricket team in Lahore, killing six police guards and a bus driver. Those gunmen escaped.The training centre is on the outskirts of the city, on the road to the nearby border with India.’It’s a continuation of the series of attacks carried out by the terrorists,’ Taseer told journalists, adding that a curfew has been imposed in the area.ATTACKED DURING MORNING DRILLPolice official Sukhera said around 850 young cadets attended the training centre but police were unsure how many were inside at the time of the attack, which began at around 07:30 a.m.Television channels said several hundred trainees were at the centre when the attackers, some dressed as policemen, struck. Taseer said some were in civilian clothes and wore masks.An eyewitness told Reuters the gunmen attacked in groups of three or four from four sides, and lobbed grenades before opening sweeping fire on cadets assembled on the parade ground.The attack came as the police recruits were doing their routine morning drills, said a police officer.A police armoured personnel carrier (APC) entered the compound and an exchange of fire, including what appeared to be a grenade explosion, broke out, a Reuters photographer at the scene said. The APC then withdrew.One television station showed about a dozen police lying on a parade ground. Some appeared lifeless while others were crawling to cover.An army helicopter circled overhead, and police and soldiers were seen carrying wounded to ambulances.Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik said our police is not trained for such encounters, adding that the possibility of foreign involvement cannot be ruled out.President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and have ordered an investigation into the incident, Dawn News reported.
TWO SUSPECTS ARRESTED Police appear to have captured two of the suspected gunmen in the attack, Dawn News reported.Separately, an Associated Press photographer saw police take away a single suspect at the academy.Television footage also showed police and other security forces surrounding the man and kicking him in a field outside the compound.INDIA CONDEMNS ATTACK
Indian officials condemned the attack saying it threatened security across the region.’We are deeply concerned. We condemn these terror attacks, we condemn all terror attacks and we offer our sympathies to the government and the people of Pakistan,’ Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi.The Indian army’s second-in-command Lieutenant General Noble Thamburaj told the NDTV news channel that the military was ‘watching the situation very carefully.”Indian armed forces are prepared at all times should there be a spill-over’ into neighbouring India, he said.
Source : Dawn

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Ahmer Asif

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