10 killed in Pak mosque attack

10 killed in Pak mosque attack


This October 11, 2009 file photo shows armed soldiers stand guard outside Pakistan's army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Reuters

Terrorists stormed a mosque packed with Friday worshippers near the Pakistani army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday, killing at least 10 people and injuring over 20 others.

The unidentified assailants lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately with automatic weapons after entering the Jamia Masjid near Parade Lane in Rawalpindi, witnesses and police said.
The firing was followed by more powerful blasts, witnesses said.

Chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said 10 people were killed. TV news channels reported over 20 people were injured.     

There was confusion about the total number of terrorists involved in the attack, which occurred shortly before 2 pm local time.

Some witnesses said seven to eight gunmen stormed the mosque while others said about 20 assailants were involved.     

There were also reports that the gunmen had taken some hostages within the mosque and were exchanging fire with security personnel. However, these reports could not immediately be confirmed.

Gunshots were heard till about 2.20 pm as helicopters hovered over the area.     

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban have been blamed for a wave of recent attacks targeting security forces that has killed dozens.    

A large number of people, including military personnel, were present in the mosque for Friday prayers. Many serving and retired military personnel reside in neighbourhoods around the mosque.     

Witnesses said the mosque was severely damaged in the attack.

Security forces cordoned off the area after the attack and prevented the media from approaching the mosque. Several ambulances were seen leaving the mosque complex with bodies and the injured.   
 
The blasts occurred in a sensitive area where an army hospital and police offices are located.

The army's heavily-guarded General Headquarters, which was attacked by terrorists in October, is located a short distance from the mosque.
    
The attack came just two days after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the Navy Headquarters in Islamabad, killing two naval policemen and injuring 13 others.

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