Manawan academy attack: 625 rounded up in Islamabad, Rawalpindi

April 13th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 13 (IANS) Police in this Pakistani capital and the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi have, in a four-day swoop, rounded up 625 people for their alleged involvement in the terror attack on a police academy near Lahore.
Those found innocent will be released after interrogation, Dawn News channel Monday quoted the police as saying.

At least 150 people were rounded up from Rawalpindi on Monday. They include some Afghan nationals.

“The suspects were taken into custody for investigations into the Manawan attack and possible links with militancy in Swat,” the channel said.

A survey of Islamabad’s slums was also conducted to check suspicious activities and individuals.

A group of heavily armed terrorists had stormed the Manawan academy, located 12 km from the border with India and held some 400 trainees hostage for nearly eight hours before the security forces recaptured the complex. Eight attackers, an equal number of trainees and two civilians were killed in the assault.

Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying it was in retaliation for the repeated drone strikes by the coalition forces in Afghanistan on supposed Taliban and Al Qaeda strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas along its western border.

Hundreds of civilians, including women and children, have been killed in the strikes, which have also caused massive damage to non-military property in the area.

The US has refused to halt the attacks despite repeated calls by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Mehsud is also blamed for the Dec 27, 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a gun-and-bomb attack as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi.

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