26 Die as Gunmen Storm Police School in Pakistan
By WAQAR GILLANI, New York Times, March 30, 2009
LAHORE, Pakistan — Gunmen firing indiscriminately and throwing hand grenades stormed a police training center in Lahore Monday morning, killing at least 26 people and injuring up to 90 , according to police and media reports.
Five hours after the attack, Pakistani television reported that army commandos had been sent into the building where gunmen were holed up on an upper floor.
A senior police official said commandos and police inside the compound were attempting to contact the attackers by megaphone to ask them what their demands were.
The official, the inspector general of police for Punjab Province, Khalid Farook, said efforts were being made to capture the attackers alive. Television footage from a neighboring building showed the militants holed up on the second floor of the building and people could be moving around inside. The militants were throwing grenades at about 10-minute intervals, one of the television reports said.
Earlier, an army brigade joined police, the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, said. The brigade had “laid a complete siege” to the compound, he said.
A helicopter ferrying troops to the scene was hit by fire from the attackers, but managed to land safely, according to Dawn television. The bodies of at least six policemen were visible in television images of the compound.
The secretary of information for Punjab, Taimur Azmat Usman, said three men, including one carrying hand grenades, had been arrested on the perimeter of the compound on suspicion of helping the attackers inside the building.
About 10 to 14 gunmen held several hundred cadets hostage as police and the attackers exchanged fire inside the center. Armored police vehicles carrying police and rangers drove into gates of the center after the attackers took control and explosions and bursts of heavy gunfire could be heard sporadically.
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