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Pakistani Commandos Storm Police Academy, End Siege


Pakistani officials say security forces have retaken control of a police academy in the eastern city of Lahore, ending a deadly eight-hour siege by heavily armed militants.

The interior ministry says at least three of the attackers were arrested, and another three blew themselves up with suicide vests as hundreds of Pakistani commandos stormed the building.

Authorities said at least eight police recruits were killed and more than 90 wounded in the day-long ordeal, but officials say the final death toll may be much higher.

After a heavy firefight, victorious security forces fired their guns into the air from the roof of the training center to celebrate the end of the siege.

Survivors of the attack said it began when the gunmen assaulted an early-morning drill on the academy parade ground and then shot their way inside the complex, taking hostages and gunning down cadets.

Witnesses said the attackers were armed with assault rifles and grenades, and some were wearing police uniforms. Officials said 10 hostages were freed when the siege ended.

Helicopters circled over the academy in the Manawan section of the city as the battle raged for hours.

Shortly after the attack began, police officers said there was "complete panic." One officer told local reporters that an attacker charged into one of the buildings and started shooting police recruits in their beds.

Officials say at least 700 cadets were at the academy at the time of the attack, which came less than a month after at least 12 gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team with rockets and grenades as it approached Lahore's Gaddafi stadium.

In that incident, the gunmen escaped after killing seven Pakistanis and wounding six Sri Lankan players and a coach.

On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States will give Pakistan the tools it needs to help defeat al-Qaida, but expects accountability in return.

In an interview on U.S. television (the CBS television program Face the Nation), Obama also promised a more regional approach to fighting terrorists and extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Still, he said the U.S. would take action against high-value terror targets in Pakistan, after consulting with the Pakistani officials.

U.S. officials say western Pakistan's lawless tribal regions have become a safe haven for al-Qaida and Taliban militants responsible for attacks in Pakistan, as well as Afghanistan.

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