Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pakistani Forces Attack Mosque, Multiple Casualties Reported

Pakistani soldiers were forced into a firefight with Islamists near a major mosque known for its support of the Taliban and al Qaeda. 11 people were killed, including one soldier was killed:
At least 11 people were killed as Pakistani security forces fought running battles with students from a mosque linked to al-Qaida today, hospital and mosque officials said.

Eight students died when gun battles broke out between police, soldiers and people inside the Lal Masjid - or red mosque - in Islamabad, the mosque's deputy head cleric said.

"They [security forces] are behaving brutally," Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi told Reuters. "So far, eight of our students have been killed."

A paramilitary soldier was shot dead shortly after the fighting broke out, while two policemen died later in hospital. Hospital officials in Islamabad told the AFP news agency they had received the bodies of two students who had suffered fatal gunshot wounds.
Bill Roggio has more, including the fact that the incident started when students rushed a security barrier, grabbed weapons, and took four government officials hostage. He also has additional background into the ongoing problems the Pakistani government has had with this mosque.

The rioting and mayhem has spread, including the torching of two nearby government buildings including the Ministry of Environment.
Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao says the students sparked the confrontation after midday.

He says police were using tear gas to break up a demonstration outside the mosque when several students opened fire, killing at least one officer.

Witnesses say the mosque has begun broadcasting calls for suicide bomb attacks over its loudspeakers.

Security forces have surrounded the mosque, but officials say the government wants to avoid aggravating an already bloody confrontation.

Local media report the government sent a mediator into the mosque to help negotiate a ceasefire.

Lal Masjid has been at the center of a growing conflict between government authorities and religious militants in the capital.
Musharaf has his hands full with this, on the heels of the problems along the border with Afghanistan.

On cue, the mullah in charge of the Lal Masjid mosque calls for Muslims to go on jihad. I don't think he means the spiritual journey kind of jihad, but the guns and bombs variety.

Thanos is providing running updates of the situation.

Hundreds have been injured in the fighting, according to this report. The Pakistani military is holding off on storming the mosque at this time. Among those killed is a journalist and several other journalists were wounded in the fighting.

Here's a two-part video expose on the Lal Masjid Islamists and what they intend to do to Pakistan:

This is who is currently engaging in battles with the Pakistani authorities.

Despite all the violence and mayhem perpetrated by followers of the Lal masjid mosque, Musharaf's government is entertaining the idea of a ceasefire. These thugs had no problem starting a riot with hundreds injured and repeated calls for jihad and suicide bombers, and the government considers a ceasefire?

Photos from the mayhem, and note the journalists right in the thick of things. This could explain why they were caught in the crossfire.

Others keeping tabs on the situation: All Things Pakistan, Jammie Wearing Fool, AJ Strata, and Gateway Pundit.

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