Nine killed as terrorists attack Pakistan Army HQ


Islamabad : Half-a-dozen Islamists mounted an audacious attack on the Pakistan Army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi Saturday, triggering heavy fighting that left four guerrillas, four soldiers and a civilian dead in a terror outburst that stunned the country.

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After 50 minutes of intense fighting involving guns and grenades in the garrison city adjoining Islamabad, the military said it lost four men and killed four of the six militants who tried to storm the fortified complex after reaching there in a white Suzuki vehicle.

The gunmen, who were dressed in military fatigues, first fired at one security post, killing soldiers. They then drove further before they were halted at a second checkpoint.

The militants immediately leaped from the van hurling grenades and firing from automatic weapons.

As panic gripped the area, soldiers fired back, killing four of the attackers. But two others escaped in the resultant confusion. A civilian who was passing by was also killed.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said: “Four security personnel have been martyred. The situation is completely under control. All terrorists who tried to enter (the complex) have been killed.”

The Pakistani media said two terrorists had managed to give the slip.

A man speaking on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella grouping of over a dozen terrorist groups, claimed responsibility for the attack. A TTP spokesman telephoned Geo TV.

The Pakistani Taliban has its main bases in South Wazirastan tribal district close to Afghanistan where the Pakistani military has been waging war against the rebels.

Ashraf Javed Qazi, a former head of the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, said the militants must have attacked the army headquarters because they had come under siege in South Wazirastan.

The attack began just before noon. In no time, a high security alert was declared in adjoining Islamabad. Military personnel cordoned off all roads in the area. Helicopter gunships took to the sky to take on the raiders.

Saturday’s attack came a day after a powerful car bomb ripped through a crowded market in Peshawar city killing about 50 people.

Geo TV also quoted a witness, Mansoor Ahmad, as saying that Saturday’s attackers fired at the soldiers from inside their van. “They were lobbing grenades again and again.”

Ahmad said one attacker was killed within minutes. His body lay on the road.