Pakistan terror 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Pakistani security forces overpowered a group of gunmen who staged a deadly assault on a police academy Monday, capturing six of the militants while eight others died during an hours-long battle in the country's east.
The well-organized, highly coordinated assault left at least 11 officers dead, though the death toll was expected to rise because some of the bodies were inside the compound.
The attack came less than a month after an ambush on Sri Lanka's visiting cricket team in the heart of Lahore and underscored the threat that militancy poses to the US-allied, nuclear-armed country. It prompted the country's top civilian security official to say that militant groups were "destabilizing the country."
Soldiers and other security forces surrounded the compound on the outskirts of the city, exchanging fire in televised scenes reminiscent of last November's militant siege of the Indian city of Mumbai. Armored vehicles entered the compound while helicopters hovered overhead. Some police tried to escape by crawling on their hands and knees around the bodies of fallen officers.
Security forces including the army battled the gunmen for around eight hours. They managed to corner several on the top floor of a building on the compound, where the gunmen were holding some 35 hostages, said Rao Iftikhar, a top government official in Punjab province, of which Lahore is capital.
Iftikhar confirmed that six of the militants were arrested. Of the eight dead, two blew themselves up, he said.
Iftikhar said he will provide a more exact death toll from the brazen assault later Monday.
On the roof of the building, an Associated Press photographer saw body parts, blood and spent ammunition strewn about. He said several police officers - apparently hostages - came out with their hands above their heads in fear.
No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.