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.