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3 terrorists captured after siege in Lahore
LAHORE, MAR 30 (IANS):
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Published on 31 Mar. 2009 1:45 AM IST
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A group of heavily armed terrorists Monday stormed a police training academy near here, killing at least 27 trainees and taking over 800 hostage before the security forces ended the brazen eight-hour stand-off. Eight terrorists were killed and three were captured alive. The casualties among the trainees could rise as bodies were still being brought out of the Manawan police academy on the outskirts of this Pakistani city, and just 12 km from the Wagah border. Eyewitness accounts put the number of attackers at between 10 and 12, and said some of them donned police uniforms. According to Punjab Home Secretary Rao Iftikhar, eight terrorists, including two who blew themselves up, were killed. “The operation has been concluded. We worked to a set plan,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Indian TV news channels soon after the all-clear from the security forces Monday afternoon. He explained how the main building of the complex was secured. The security forces, comprising commandos of the Pakistan Rangers and the Punjab police, “first pushed the attackers to the first floor of the building, then to the second and then to the roof, where they were neutralised”, Malik said. According to Malik, 52 police personnel were injured during the operation. Asked whether he saw a foreign hand in the Lahore assault, Malik said there was a “probability”. “We have proved that we are capable of handling such situations. At the same time, we have to enhance our capabilities by equipping our security forces with modern gadgetry.” President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani commended the security forces on successfully retaking control of the police training centre. Geo TV reported that an armed man who was walking towards helicopters that had landed in a village close to the police complex was overpowered and arrested. Two hand grenades were recovered from him. Some officials identified him as an Afghan national. The terrorists stormed the police academy at 7.20 a.m. when hundreds of police recruits were taking part in their usual morning parade. The attackers first threw a grenade and then hurled many more, taking by surprise the mostly unarmed policemen and the few armed security personnel. In no time, the terrorists scaled the walls of the sprawling academy and made their way inside, firing away. Several police trainees were killed instantly.

 
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