Gunmen wearing uniform attack Pakistan army HQ, 10 killed /PHOTO

Two gunmen involved in an attack on the Pakistani army headquarters were on the loose after four of their colleagues were killed, military officials said.

Gunmen wearing uniform attack Pakistan army HQ, 10 killed /PHOTO


Suspected fighters dressed in army uniforms attacked Pakistan's army headquarters on Saturday, killing six guards and triggering a battle in which four gunmen were killed, military officials said.

The gunmen, dressed in camouflage military uniforms, drove in a white van up to the army compound in the garrison city of Rawalpindi shortly before noon Saturday and tried to force their way inside, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said.



"They came in a van and tried to enter from gate one to gate two in the sensitive area. They were stopped and now the situation is under our control," Abbas told private TV channel Geo.



The assailants shot at the guards at one checkpoint, killing some of them, and then jumped out of the van and ran toward a second checkpoint, he said. Abbas said the guards were likely confused by the attackers' uniforms.

The heavily armed attackers then took up positions throughout the area and began firing at the troops in a gunbattle that lasted 45 minutes, security officials said.



One gunman hurled a grenade, and others fired sporadically from their hiding places at those manning the checkpoint at the compound's entrance, said a senior military official inside.

"Two Hostages"

Another military official said some firing had been heard and a helicopter was helping in the search for the two gunmen. Dawn television said the fleeing gunmen had taken two hostages.

Television pictures showed the gunmen's white van, its doors open, where the gunmen abandoned it by concrete barriers outside the gate.



Police and troops backed by helicopter gunships cordoned off the area in Rawalpindi, which is adjacent to the capital of Islamabad. The garrison city is filled with security checkpoints and police roadblocks.

Preparing for another offensive

The  attack on the tightly guarded headquarters came as the army prepares a major offensive against Pakistani Taliban in their northwestern stronghold on the Afghan border.

Pakistani army launched late April a massive offensive in Swat Valley, breaking the deal between Taliban and government over a Sharia administration.

Taliban gained the right to form provincial administration, implementing Shar'ia laws in Swat districts under the deal. But Taliban fighters entered neighbouring districts, including one just 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad.



Taliban says the offensive was launched by government to please U.S. who has pressured to break it.

Taliban says Pakistani government had no respect for any pact and They kept violating every agreement and if this goes on.

On Aug 5., U.S. drone aircraft launched a missile attack in South Waziristan that killed Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of various factions of the Pakistani Taliban.

The government ordered the army to go on the offensive in South Waziristan in June and security forces have been launching air and artillery strikes, while moving in troops, blockading the region and trying to split off factions.

Yesterday, a suspected suicide car-bomber killed 49 people in the city of Peshawar in an attack the government said underscored the need for the all-out offensive.


Agencies

Last Mod: 10 Ekim 2009, 14:20
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