Fresh explosions, gunfire around Pakistani mosque

July 8, 2007 03:08


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Tension surrounding a besieged mosque in the Pakistani capital where a defiant cleric and his militant followers have vowed to die rather than surrender heightened Sunday as gunfire and several explosions were heard just after midnight. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said three elite army commandoes were shot and wounded in the latest clashes around the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, but refused to provide any further details. On Saturday, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf threatened to kill the holdouts unless they turned themselves in. Thousands of troops have surrounded the mosque over the past six days in the heart of the Pakistani capital, but have so far held back from an all-out assault.

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