Pakistan mosque clashes intensify

Published by (english) AlZazeera, July 8, 2007.

Pakistani commandos have raided the compound of a mosque where armed students are holding out, blasting holes in a perimeter wall in the hope hundreds of women and children can escape. Major-General Waheed Arshad, the military spokesman, said that the raids were met with heavy fire and the head of the unit that led the attack was killed. Gunfire erupted shortly after 1am (2000 GMT) on Saturday and about 20 minutes later three big blasts sounded across the capital as the commandos blew up the wall of the madrassa. “We’ve already made four or five holes and tonight also two or three holes were made,” Waheed said.

Casualties: “While these operations were being carried there was intense firing from the militants,” he said. The unit commander was killed and one commando wounded. Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the cleric leading Lal Masjid’s Taliban-style movement, told Pakistani television channels more than 300 followers, mostly female students, were killed in overnight gun battles. Mohammad Ali Durrani, the Pakistani information minister, said Ghazi was lying. (full text).

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