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Police claim victory after scores die in Pakistan siege

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Isambard Wilkinson
London Telegraph
Monday, March 30, 2009

Pakistan’s security forces have claimed victory over gunmen who stormed a police training academy in Lahore, leaving between 30 and 40 dead.

Armed police were seen celebrating on the rooftop of the training centre, having apparently overcome the fighters who took over the compound.

Earlier reports put the death toll at over 60.

Gunfire echoed around the outskirts of the city and fighters were positioned on rooftops, firing at security forces in the streets below. The latest attack in Lahore had a strong similarity to the assault on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the city earlier this month.

About 12 gunmen fought their way inside Lahore’s Manawan police training centre with assault rifles and hand-grenades.

Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, said the army had surrounded the training compound and a siege was under way. On the scene, army officers appeared to be commanding soldiers from the paramilitary Rangers unit. “It is a complete panic here. We do not have any idea how many the attackers are, and how many of them are dead, or hiding in nearby buildings,” said one police officer, Syed Ahmad. “We are fighting them.”

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Television news footage showed police officers and paramilitary rangers surrounding the perimeter wall of the training centre.

An armoured personnel carrier (APC) entered the compound and an exchange of fire, including what appeared to be a grenade explosion, broke out. The APC then withdrew.

Police officers sprayed the compound with sporadic, poorly-directed automatic gunfire.

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This article was posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

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