22 hostages freed after raid in Pakistani army headquarters

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

22 hostages were freed after military commandos raided a Pakistan army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Sunday that had been taken by militants, reports said. Four militants and three hostages had been killed in the resulting clashes including two senior officers.

The incident began midday on Saturday when several gunmen, disguised in military uniforms, attacked a checkpoint outside the heavily guarded headquarters. The Pakistani military initially said it had the situation under control about an hour after the attack, however, it had been discovered later that some of the militants had escaped into a security office building and were holding hostages.

"Eight to 10 terrorists were involved in this attack," Pakistani army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said. He was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that "three of the hostages were killed due to militant firing."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for this attack.

On Monday, a suicide bomber disguised in a paramilitary uniform attacked a UN office in nearby Islamabad, and on Friday, a suspected suicide car-bomber killed some 50 people in Peshawar. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the UN bombing and threatened to target other international organizations and Pakistani government and military locations.

In response to the attacks, Pakistani leaders have vowed to start a new offensive against militants in the country's tribal regions along the Afghan border.