LAHORE POLICE ACADEMY ATTACK
An armed group has attacked a police training academy in Lahore, Eastern Pakistan, on Monday 03/30/2009 morning, with hand grenades and assault rifles. As many as 800 people were believed to be in the police building when the attack began, he said.
The attack comes less than a month after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. (see – Cricket-team attack ).
The Lahore Academy has been named by local media as the Manawan police training school. It is on the outskirts of the city, on a road to the border with India.
Several hundred trainees were there when the gunmen attacked during routine morning drills, local TV reported. It appears the attackers had entered the academy dressed in police uniform. The attackers – possibly 13 in number – also took several officers hostages. Elite troops have now been called to the academy.
Firing was continuing more than five hours after it began as troops tried to retake the academy. It is unclear how many people are trapped inside. At about 16:00 Pakistani Paramilitary troops regained control on the police compound. Eventually the final number of people killed in the raid reached 18 – 2 civilians, 8 policemen and 8 militants were killed, 95 people were injured.
Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani political analyst, said the attack underscored the “ill-preparedness” of police and paramilitary forces in the country.
“The kind of attack that took place is very, very difficult to pre-empt. There are people who came prepared to kill. On the other side, you see the kind of response from paramilitary forces (see – PAKISTAN Survival ).
* Rehman Malik, the Pakistani interior minister, said, on Tuesday 03/31/2009 morning, in Lahore that the militants were believed to be fighters loyal to Pakistani Tehrik-e-Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud and one of the attackers was an Afghan national.
*Indeed, Baitullah Mehsud confirmed in an interview to BBC, few hours later, that the attack was “in retaliation for the continued drone strikes by the US in collaboration with Pakistan on our people”. Baitullah Mehsud also claimed responsibility for two other recent deadly attacks:
A. The suicide attack on a security convoy, also on Monday 03/30/2009, near the town of Bannu in North West Frontier Province, which killed seven security personnel.
B. An attack on the offices of a police station in Islamabad on 03/25/2009. (see also – Islamabad 07.06.08 )
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