Lahore braves terror

 * Eight cadets and a civilian killed in commando-style terrorist raid on 
police academy in Manawan 
* Troops battle grenade-wielding gunmen for eight hours 
* One Afghan attacker arrested, one injured gunman flees, three blow themselves 
up to avoid capture 
* Little-known Fedayeen al-Islam group claims responsibility 

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: At least eight police recruits and a civilian were killed when about 10 
terrorists attacked the Police Training Centre in Manawan with guns and 
grenades on Monday. 

Security forces regained control of the facility in an operation that lasted 
for more than eight hours. About 93 cadets and civilians were injured.

One of the attackers was arrested, another was able to flee after being hit by 
a bullet and three blew themselves up to avoid arrest, Punjab Police Inspector 
General Khawaja Khalid Farooq said. He believed other attackers might have fled 
unhurt in the densely populated neighbourhood. 

The attackers, some of who were dressed in police uniforms, scaled the 
four-feet high boundary wall of the police academy at about 7:15am. Hundreds of 
police and FIA recruits were carrying out morning drills.

They threw three or four grenades at the trainees and then began to fire 
indiscriminately. There were about 1,000 police personnel in the facility at 
the time of the attack. The gunmen took positions on the second and third floor 
of the three-storey residential barracks.

"Two attackers threw three hand grenades at us and then there was thick 
smoke... we panicked and ran in different directions," said police trainee Umar 
Ahmed, who took refuge in a small room while his colleagues were held hostage.

He said the attackers wore shalwar kamiz and Peshawari sandals. "One of them 
had a beard and looking like a Pathan," Umar said.

Police officials said there were only five semi-automatic rifles and 50 bullets 
available in the facility, and the attackers faced little resistance from 

The brazen shooting continued for about half-an-hour until Elite Force and 
police contingents arrived and surrounded the site. Other policemen, reporters 
and civilians saw the ensuing gunbattle from behind media and police vehicles 
and ambulances.

Contingents of Pakistan Army and Rangers arrived on the scene at about 9am. 
Around 100 troops stormed into the premises in armoured vehicles and four 
helicopters hovered overhead. Grenade explosions rocked the building during the 
tense standoff. 

TV footage showed several frightened police officers jumping over the wall of 
the academy to flee. Some crouched behind the wall of the compound, their 
rifles pointed toward the parade ground where police said the attack took 

"The eight hours were like eight centuries," said Muhammad Salman, 23, one of 
the hostages. "It was like I died several times. I had made up my mind that it 
was all over."

Meanwhile, police arrested a suspect with a pistol and two magazines from 
outside the premises. Imran Hussain initially identified himself as a policeman.

One of attackers identified as Hijratullah was arrested with a hand grenade, a 
dagger, a wireless phone and an Afghan passport. Investigators privy to the 
initial questioning said he was a resident of the Afghan province of Paktika 
and had been trained in Jalalabad. 

Security forces announced through the local mosque that a wounded terrorist had 

When the siege ended, police commandos climbed on top of the reclaimed building 
and shot in the air, shouting slogans to celebrate.

Hundreds of civilians greeted the men outside the premises, picking them up on 
their shoulders.

Body parts of three attackers who blew themselves up after being confined to 
the second-floor room where they holed up were seized after the operation 

Officials said the head of a terrorist, the face of another and the body of the 
third were sent for autopsy. The men had apparently not shaved in two weeks.

Late on Monday, a Taliban operative who identified himself as Omar Farooq told 
The Associated Press by telephone that a little-known group called Fedayeen 
al-Islam was behind the attack and that he was speaking on their behalf.

"As long as the Pakistani troops do not leave Tribal Areas, these attacks will 
continue," he said.


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