Terrorists storm mosque


As many as 40 persons including 10 children and one Major General and other high-ranking military officials were killed and over 80 injured on Friday when about seven terrorists struck Parade Lane mosque in Rawalpindi Cantonment during Juma prayers.
Major General, Brigadier, Lieutenant Colonels among 40 dead, 80 injured
Major General Bilal Omer Khan, Director General Armoured Corps was among the dead while former Vice Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Yousuf (Retd) was injured in the attack. The Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has confirmed 36 casualties in the firing and two suicide blasts at the mosque, while the spokesman of the Rescue 1122 confirmed the killing of 37 people and injuries to over 50 people. The bomb disposal squad said the suicide jacket contained 10-kg explosive material.
Well-placed sources told Business Recorder the CID department had informed the police and other law enforcement agencies that a massive terrorist attack is expected in Rawalpindi or Islamabad and immediate preventive measures should be taken to avoid the attack. The security apparatus was put on high alert and maximum number of vehicles were checked, but all these arrangements failed to avert this deadliest attack ever in Rawalpindi history, as the death toll is expected to cross 50 mark.
It was a planned attack and terrorists came out from a grey corolla and were fully equipped with lethal weapons such as hand grenades, suicide jackets, sophisticated assault rifles, said the Regional Police Officer Rawalpindi, Aslam Tareen, adding that despite all security arrangements terrorists have succeeded in dodging the LEAs. He confirmed the death of 40 people in the attack. He said the death toll could rise as the condition of a large number of injured is stated to be critical.
About seven terrorists made their entry to the Jamia Masjid of Parade Lane, a residential compound of hundreds of high ranked officers of Pakistan Army and Air Force, located near Qasim Market on a very short distance from the GHQ and hurled hand grenades and opened indiscriminate fire on people gathered for Juma congregation.
Three of the seven terrorists blew themselves up as they entered the mosque resulting in destruction of huge portion of the mosque, eyewitnesses said. They said that terrorists also resorted to indiscriminate firing but the security personnel responded quickly and killed all the terrorists.
The area wore a dreaded look due to body parts of the dead strewn all over, eye witnesses said, adding that many vehicles parked in the streets surrounding the mosque were also damaged in the attack. Police and army troops arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area.
Even police was kept far off the mosque, while only army ambulances were allowed to carry the dead and injured to the military hospital and CMH. Besides quick search operation by Pakistan Army and LEAs, helicopters also started aerial surveillance and seen hovering over the area. It was feared that few attackers might have escaped and taken refuge in the neighbouring streets. Only two bodies were shifted to District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital, one among them was identified as Muhammad Arshad from Malakwal.
Media was not given any access to both the hospitals of armed forces. But the sources told this scribe that 21 dead and over 22 injured were shifted to CMH, 18 dead and 60 injured to MH and two dead were shifted to DHQ Hospital Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told media the two suicide bombers accompanied the attackers blew themselves up during the attack resulting in the heavy casualties and injuries. He confirmed the killing of 30 people saying that 30 people were killed in the deadliest attack and the blasts severely damaged the mosque.
Malik said terrorists are playing in the hands of forces that don’t want the development and prosperity of Pakistan. But, he added that these forces would not be spared and followed till the last terrorist is killed. He asked the Punjab Inspector General Police to hold quick inquiry into the incident and submit a report.
It is also learnt that during the search operation security forces recovered a large number of hand-grenades and other sophisticated weapons from the mosque. But no person was arrested from the scene during the operation. One suspected car was also taken into custody.
AP adds: The dead included a major general, a brigadier, two lieutenant colonels, one major and a retired major as well as three regular soldiers, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said. Seventeen children and 10 civilians also were killed.

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