10 including Brig & Col killed in Army GHQ attacked
The terrorists wearing military uniforms attacked Pakistan’s army General headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, sparking a ferocious gun battle that killed four of the assailants and at least six soldiers including a Brigadier and Lieutenant Colonel, said ISPR.
The suspected militants, brandishing assault rifles and grenades, targeted the security forces check post in Rawalpindi and were then involved in a shoot-out with troops, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, Spokesman Pakistan army.
The militants wearing a military uniform drove up to the tightly guarded site at 11:30am and tried to force their way inside before being stopped by troops. The attackers jumped out of their vehicle, took up positions around the area and began firing at the soldiers.
One militant threw a grenade, while others fired sporadically at soldiers guarding the checkpoint at the compound’s entrance.
After the incident, roads to the area were sealed off and at least one helicopter hovered over the area to monitor the activities of terrorists.
The 45-minute attack came a day after a bomb killed nearly 50 people in Peshawar. It also came as the Government said it was planning an offensive against Taliban in South Wazirisitan. According to eyewitness the fighting started when a white color vehicle was stopped at a security post near the GHQs.
‘The attackers opened fire at the soldiers from the vehicle, he said, adding that, ‘they lobbed hand grenades again and again and they had sophisticated weapons.
The gun battle was the third major attack in major cities in recent days, following a car bombing that killed at least 49 on Friday in Peshawar and the bombing of a UN aid agency Monday that killed five in Islamabad
DG ISPR Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said that two of the attackers managed to escape and we are not sure where they are hiding. The army has cordoned off the area and the search is going on to arrest the two terrorists, he said.
The DG ISPR said four militants were killed during the gun battle and two others are still at large. He said the search operation and air surveillance are underway in areas adjacent to headquarters to locate the fleeing militants.
6 army men including two senior officers were killed and 5 wounded during gun battle with suspected militants outside army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, he said.
Earlier, the army spokesman said the situation was ‘completely under control, and all the 4 terrorists who were trying to enter were killed.
He said four terrorists, driving a white Suzuki van and dressed in army uniform, opened fire at army check post outside headquarters main gate which security forces retaliated, killing all four terrorists.
The injured Personnel have also been shifted to hospital for immediate medical treatment. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that there was report about such attack in Rawalpindi.
Sources told Private TV Channel at least two attackers managed to enter the premises and were holding two military officials hostage inside the building. Private TV Channel quoted military sources as saying round about 11 terrorists wearing military uniform attacked the army HQs out of which 4 were killed and 4 has been arrested while 3 are still at large.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the ongoing assaults strengthened the government’s resolve to launch the offensive.
“We have been left no other option except to go ahead to face them”, he said.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani have condemned the attack at GHQ in Rawalpindi. President Zardari in his statement said such incidents could not weaken governments’ commitment against terrorism.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was informed about the incident when he was addressing the ceremony with regard to inauguration of road in Islamabad, official sources said.
Quaid PML-N Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, Federal Defense Minister Ahmed Mukthar, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kiara and other political leaders condemned the attack in strongest term.
Banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Amjad Farroqi Group has claimed responsibility of the attack.
Former Director General ISI Lt. Gen. (Retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi said that the TTP has its main bases in the South Waziristan but it also has a presence across Pakistan through various extremist groups, said
The terrorists are under siege and surrounded, particularly in South Waziristan, and this attack seems a desperate attempt to release the pressure, he said.
‘The terrorists are trying to press the government for negotiations with them,’ Qazi said, adding that, they should be eliminated instead.