LATEST DEVELOPMENT: Following a gun-battle early morning on Sunday that left three of teh hostages and foru terrorists dead, teh remaining 25 hostages have been freed. Details, from The News:
Operation against terrorists in GHQ has entered into last stages and 25 hostages have been freed. According to sources, 25 hostages have been freed, three hostages were martyred and four terrorists were killed after successful operation in GHQ. According to DG ISPR, Athar Abbas, operation against terrorist was launched early today at 6 am. â€œAfter the successful operation 25 hostages have safely been freed, while four terrorists were killed.â€ A terrorist was wearing suicide jacket to blow himself up causing maximum damage in case of operation, Athar Abbas added. Meanwhile clearance operation in the Head Quarter is continuing.
Earlier Post: In the latest horrendous development in the ongoing war against Pakistan, a planned terrorist attack on the Army General Headquarters (GHQ) has left at least six Pakistani soldiers and four attackers dead. A hostage situation continues with the attackers having taken more than ten military personnel hostage.
Coming a day after a heinous attack in Peshawar that left 49 Pakistanis dead, including little children and women, and less than a week after an attack on a UN office in Islamabad that the Taliban have taken responsibility for,Â this is also seen as an attempt by the Taliban to reassert themselves after recent setbacks in the Swat region and the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud.
According to a report in The News:
About 4 to 5 terrorists in a security office near second GHQ check post are holding 10-15 people, including security and civil personnel, hostage after the attempted attack on GHQ, DG ISPR Maj. General Athar Abbas said on Saturday. Security personnel have surrounded the office, ISPR added.
Earlier, six terrorists attempted to launch an attack on GHQ which was foiled by the security personnel. Four terrorists were killed while two escaped from the scene. Six security men including a Brigadier and Lt. Colonel were also martyred in the incident. Six terrorists in army uniform attempted to get entry into GHQ at 11:30 am on Saturday from gate no 1. When stopped by security officials, they reached at check post no 1 and opened fire on security men after taking positions after leaving the car. Four terrorists were killed and two fled during trade of fire between security officials and terrorists. Army gunship helicopters started hovering over the area for vigilance. The commandos seized the bodies of terrorists and shifted them.
The DG ISPR confirmed killing of four terrorists whereas six security personnel including Brigadier Anwar and Lt. Col. Wasim were also martyred in the operation. Two terrorists managed to flee. The security men later found that the escaped terrorists took shelter in a nearby security office which is now surrounded by security forces. The ISPR said that more than two terrorists are in the security office where several security personnel are held hostage.
Here are more details, as reported in Dawn:
Heavily-armed militants tried to storm Pakistan’s army headquarters Saturday, with six soldiers and four militants killed in an audacious attack near the capital Islamabad, officials said. Six insurgents armed with automatic weapons and grenades shot their way through one check post in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, before being stopped by security forces at a second post. Two militants have fled, officials said.
Pakistan has seen a surge in attacks blamed on Taliban militants in the past week, as the insurgents vow to take bloody revenge for the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone missile attack in August. â€˜The terrorists were wearing army uniform and were armed with sophisticated weapons and grenades,â€™ army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said on state-run television. â€˜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,â€™ he said in a separate interview on private TV channel Geo.
â€˜The fighting is over now. The situation is under control.â€™
His deputy Colonel Attiqur Rehman told AFP: â€˜Six soldiers were martyred in the attack.â€™ The firefight came a day after a car bomb attack blamed on the Taliban killed 52 people in the northwest city of Peshawar, and as the military readies for an offensive against militants in their northwest tribal stronghold. Another military official in Islamabad said there were at least six attackers in the assault on the heavily-fortified army command centre.
â€˜There were at least six attackers. Four were killed. Two are still missing. The hunt is going on,â€™ said the official with Pakistan army’s media wing. He blamed the Rawalpindi attack on Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the umbrella militant movement based in the mountainous, semi-autonomous tribal belt that runs along the border with Afghanistan. Soon after the attack, army commandos encircled the area and helicopter gunships flew overhead.
An AFP journalist at the scene of Saturday’s gun battle reported that the firefight lasted about an hour and a half, with helicopters ferrying the dead militants away after the battle ended. Witnesses said that the militants hurled hand grenades, with one man saying five explosions rang out amid the gunfire. â€˜A car was signalled to stop outside army headquarters,â€™ local police officer on the scene Amjad Ali told AFP.
â€˜The occupants opened fire and threw grenades at security guards who retaliated.â€™ Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the attack, a brief statement issued by his office in Islamabad said. The military is wrapping up a fierce offensive against Taliban militants in the northwestern Swat valley launched in April, with the army now poised to begin a similar assault in the lawless tribal belt.
The Taliban had already claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Monday on a UN office in Islamabad, which killed five aid workers. Taliban militants holed up in the northwest tribal belt have been blamed for a string of attacks and suicide blasts that have killed more than 2,100 people in the last two years, with 12 blasts hitting Islamabad alone. Several bomb blasts in the past two-and-a-half weeks in the northwest have killed dozens, with the Taliban threatening to unleash bigger assaults. There was a lull in bomb attacks after Baitullah Mehsud’s death in an August 5 US drone strike, but analysts had warned that the new Taliban leadership would likely be keen to show their strength with fresh, dramatic strikes.