At least 36, including Maj Gen, killed in Rawalpindi mosque attackDecember 5th, 2009 - 12:21 am ICT by IANS
Rawalpindi, Dec 4 (IANS) At least 36 people, including senior army officers, were killed when suicide attackers hurled grenades and opened fire before blowing themselves up in a mosque in this Pakistan garrison town where hundreds of people, including army personnel, had gathered for Friday prayers.
The suicide bombers blew themselves up in the mosque, located inside the officers residential colony in Parade Lane and frequented by army personnel. The mosque is near the Pakistan Army headquarters that was the target of heavily-armed Taliban guerrillas Oct 10.
According to a release of the Pakistan Army, the dead include 17 children, 10 civilians and nine Army personnel including Maj. Gen Bilal Omar Khan, the director general of the armoured corps. Former vice chief of the army staff, Gen. (retd) Mohd Yousuf was among the 75 wounded.
The release said four of the attackers approached the mosque and hurled grenades followed by indiscriminate firing. Two suicide bombers then entered the mosque and blew themselves up. Security forces personnel in the area responded immediately and the four attackers were killed.
Rawalpindi police chief Aslam Tareen said 40 people had been killed and 80 injured, Online reported. He said it was a suicide attack, with the attackers first throwing hand grenades inside the mosque and opening fire, before blowing themselves up.
Ishtiaq, an eyewitness and driver of an army brigadier, said two back-to-back blasts rocked the mosque as the prayers concluded.
“The brigadier and his son had entered the mosque while I was being searched by the guards when I heard the first blast and soon after that a second one,” DPA quoted Ishtiaq as saying. Both the brigadier and his son were among those killed, according to the ISPR release.
DPA cited an eyewitness saying he had seen two gunmen, wearing traditional dress and carrying backpacks, scale the mosque’s outer wall and lob three hand grenades before shooting people in the mosque’s courtyard.
“Some other attackers were shooting inside the main mosque building but I could not see them,” he said.
A second eyewitness, a retired major of the paramilitary troops, told Dawn television that the gunmen were very well trained and well equipped.
“From the terrorist point of view, it was a very successful operation - their objective was to kill and get killed, and they achieved it.”
According to him, the terrorists “held people from (their) hair and shot them in a cold-blooded manner.”
One terrorist blew himself up on the ground floor of the mosque, while his colleague lobbed four hand grenades into the second prayer hall on the first floor before detonating himself on the stairs.
In the aftermath of the attack, security was stepped up in a sprawling walled compound near the mosque that also houses residential blocks for servicemen and their families.
According to Online, security officials found a grey Toyota car with number plate HV 508 near the mosque and it is suspected that it was used to transport the terrorists to the site. Five live hand grenades were recovered from the car and immediately defused by the bomb disposal squad.
Pakistan has been struck by a series of terror attacks since Oct 5, when the latest wave of violence was unleashed by the Taliban which is battling the army in the rugged terrain of South Waziristan.
Over 250 people have been killed in a spate of terror attacks in various parts of the country since Oct 5.
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- Three cops, 3 rebels killed in Peshawar suicide attack (Second Lead) - Feb 24, 2012
- Nine dead in Pakistan suicide bombing (Lead) - Jan 14, 2012
- Firing in Islamabad: two dead, suicide bomber flees (Lead) - Oct 22, 2009
- Five die in Peshawar blast (Lead) - Mar 11, 2012
- Pak police arrests seven for role in Lahore mosque attacks - Jun 01, 2010
- UN chief condemns Pakistan mosque suicide attack - Aug 20, 2011
- Senior cop dies in Peshawar suicide blast (Lead) - Mar 15, 2012
- 23 killed in Pakistan suicide blast - Mar 02, 2012
- Terrorists attack Pakistan army HQ, at least four die (Third Lead) - Oct 10, 2009
- Suicide bomber attacks Pakistan police station - Jan 14, 2012
- Lahore under siege, simultaneous terror strike in three places (Second Lead) - Oct 15, 2009
Tags: armoured corps, army headquarters, army officers, army personnel, army staff, aslam, bilal, brigadier, garrison town, hand grenades, omar khan, pakistan army, suicide attack, suicide attackers, suicide bombers, tareen, target, traditional dress, vice chief, yousuf