Taliban terror strikes Lahore, 25 dead


Lahore : Taliban terrorists laid siege to Pakistan’s Lahore city Thursday morning with audacious and simultaneous attacks on three police establishments that killed 25 people including 10 of the attackers.

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An unknown number of armed men – and probably a few women – dressed in military fatigues stormed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building in a thickly populated area, the sprawling police training school at Manawan, only 12 km from the Indian border, and the Elite Force training centre, another huge complex.

The attack on the FIA, Pakistan’s federal law enforcement agency, triggered widespread panic because it is located close to a school where hundreds of children were in attendance.

Thursday was one of the worst days for Pakistani authorities — even by the country’s own standard of unending bloodletting. In no time, the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which Saturday daring attacked the military headquarters in Rawalpindi city, claimed responsibility for the latest mayhem.

The group has vowed to hurt Pakistan to protest US drone attacks on militants near the Afghanistan border and to punish security forces for preparing to crack down on the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziritstan.

The violence spree broke out in Lahore, one of Pakistan’s most vibrant cities, shortly after a suicide bomber stormed a police station and killed 10 people in Kohat town in the northwest.

In what were clearly well-synchronised strikes, the terrorists barged into all three targets Thursday firing from their weapons, sparking pitched gun battles. They also lobbed grenades at the startled security personnel.

As loud blasts and gunshots were heard, military helicopters hovered above to keep a watch on the terror drama.

The military announced after over four hours that they had neutralized all the terrorists. The police managed to capture one of them.

“The situation is completely under control and there are no hostages,” Major General Shafqaat Ahmad told reporters at the Elite Force training centre, where the security forces took the maximum time to subdue the terrorists.

In contrast, the terrorists in the FIA building and the police training school were killed quickly.

Ahmad said five terrorists were killed at the Elite Force complex, but did not give figures for casualties among the police.

Police said seven people were killed and three people injured in the attack on the FIA building. The dead included two terrorists.

The head of the Rescue 1122 emergency service, Rizwan Naseer, said the total death toll in all three incidents had reached to 25. Among them were 10 terrorists.

Lahore Police Commissioner Khusro Pervez told Dawn News that it was a “multi-directional attack”.

This was the second attack on the police training school this year after a March 30 assault that left several people dead.

Pakistan has been rocked by a string of terror attacks in the last 10 days that have claimed more than 100 lives.

Last week, a suicide bomber detonated a car stuffed with explosives in a busy market of Peshawar, killing 53 people and injuring over 100. And Oct 5, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the UN World Food Programme office in Islamabad killing five people.

The Lahore attacks come a day after it was announced that Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had ordered that an advisory on tightening security be issued following the assault on the military headquarters.