42 killed as Taliban attack Pak cities; India blamed

Last Updated: Friday, October 16, 2009 - 09:53

Zeenews Bureau

Lahore: Within days of attacking the Pak Army HQ in Rawalpindi, terrorists struck again on in the eastern city of Lahore, Kohat and in Peshawar. Armed terrorists attacked three security establishments in Lahore early morning – Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building, Elite Force Headquarters, Manawan Training Centre.

Tehrik-e-Taliban has claimed responsibility for these audacious attacks.

An eight-year-old child was killed and several others injured in an explosion at a school in Pakistan`s northwestern Peshawar city Thursday, media reports said. The incident took place in the Gulshan-e-Rehman colony of the city in North West Frontier Province, in a residential area for government employees.

In all 42 were killed, including 10 terrorists in all the attacks.

India blamed

Shortly after terrorists struck at the Federal Investigation Agency office and two police training centres, Lahore Commissioner Khusro Pervez blamed the Research and Analysis Wing, India`s external intelligence agency, for terrorist activities across Pakistan.

"The enemy has engaged us in the North West Frontier Province and other areas. There have been suicide attacks in several cities. The enemy is no longer hidden. There is a lot of evidence showing the involvement of (a neighbouring country). They openly say they want to destabilise Pakistan," Pervez told reporters.

Pervez also alleged India had set up training camps for terrorists in Afghanistan`s Paktia region. He questioned India`s reasons for setting up consulates in Afghanistan.

Hours later, Malik said government officials should not speculate about the involvement of any country in the attacks without proof.

FIA building

At least 20 people -- 16 security personnel and four
civilians -- were killed in attacks on an office of the
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and two police training
facilities in Lahore by three groups of terrorists between
9.15 am and 9.40 am local time, police said.

Ten of the attackers were gunned down by security forces
or blew themselves up. Nearly 40 people were injured in all
the attacks.

According to Pakistani official, seven people were been killed when a team of gunmen attacked the federal law enforcement building on Temple Road.

Senior official Sajjad Bhutta said that the attack lasted about 1 1/2 hours and was over by 11 am.

He said the dead included one terrorist, two children and four government employees apart from two police inspectors.

Senior police official Chaudhry Shafiq says the dead terrorist wore a suicide jacket laden with explosives.

The terrorist were eliminated after Elite Force and Rangers personnel entered the FIA building.

Guards deployed at the gate stopped the attacker before he could enter the FIA office. Security forces evacuated the office and nearby buildings and launched a search for three more terrorists believed to be in the area, said SP (Investigation) Haider Ashraf.

Elite Force Headquarters

The Army commandos gunned down all five terrorists involved in the attack on Elite Force Headquarters on Bedian Road, Lt Gen Shafqat Ahmad told reporters.

The headquarters is about 6 km from the airport. Earlier, witnesses had said around 10 terrorists lobbed several grenades and then opened fire before entering the centre.

According to TV news channels, the terrorists scaled the back wall of the elite police commando training centre. Seven security personnel were also killed in the attack.

"They (terrorists) all seem to be young boys aged between 18 and 20. Three of them wearing suicide jackets blew themselves up," Ahmad said.

Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) personnel were the first one to enter the compound to assist the injured. As per their report, the injured officials revealed that there were four women in police uniforms in the group of 8-10 terrorists. However, this claim was denied by Army and police officials.

Scores of policemen surrounded the training centre.

Dozens of ambulances rushed to the site to take the dead and injured to nearby hospitals.

Officials said a large parade was to be held at the centre today.

Police Training Centre

Even as the security personnel were taking stock of the situation, another group of ultras stormed the Police Training Centre at Manawan on the outskirts of the city.

According to reports, a group of four terrorists, each wearing a suicide jacket laden with explosives, carried out the attack on the Manawan centre.

Reports said several police recruits had been taken hostage at the Manawan centre. Meanwhile, Lahore police chief Pervez Rathore said one of the terrorists wearing a suicide jacket blew up when he was shot by policemen and the other three, who were clad in black, blew themselves up.

SSP (Operations) Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmad said seven policemen and four terrorists were killed at the Manawan facility.

Terrorists had in March this year stormed the police training centre at Manawan, which is located close to the other training facility attacked this morning.

Kohat

In Kohat, 11 people died when the suicide bomber rammed
his explosives-laden vehicle into the police station in Kohat.

Witnesses said the bomber slammed his vehicle into the
outer wall of the police station, causing a massive blast.

Some policemen and school children were among the dead,
police said. The police station was severely damaged.

‘Situation under control’

Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik has confirmed that FIA building is now cleared of the militants. However, he said the situation was under control.

“It’s a guerrilla war. Our forces are alert and they have given stiff resistance.”

"The perpetrators are carrying out an agenda. The handlers behind the attacks do not want peace," he said.

He said all the four provinces have been put on red alert and security has been beefed up at all the key installations.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari said the bloodshed that has engulfed the nation over the past 11 days would not deter the government from its mission to eliminate the violent extremists, according to a statement on the state-run news agency.

There were no security lapses on our part, Pak govt insisted, hinting they had prior information regarding the attack.

Almost five hours after the attacks began, Lahore city
police officer Pervaiz Rathore said security forces had
thwarted all of them.

Today`s attack was also part of a new trend of terrorists storming the facilities of security agencies. Last week, a group of terrorists attempted to storm the Pakistan Army`s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Nine attackers and 14 security personnel and civilian employees of the armed forces died in the assault.



First Published: Friday, October 16, 2009 - 09:53

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