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Army HQ siege ends

world Updated: Oct 12, 2009 00:16 IST
Kamal Siddiqi
Kamal Siddiqi
Hindustan Times
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Pakistan army commandos stormed the building in which terrorists had kept 29 people hostages on Sunday, ending a standoff in which 13 people lost their lives.

Nine terrorists, one in a suicide jacket, were shot dead by the commandos, who also managed to capture the mastermind behind the attack.

The arrest of Aqeel, also known as “Dr Usman” by army commandes, is being seen as a was a major breakthrough. Officials told the media that they expected that the arrest of Aqeel would blunt the attacks by the Taliban and other extremist outfits in different parts of the country.

Aqeel, a former serviceman and member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is believed to have been behind many attacks in Pakistan, apart from Saturday’s attack on the army headquarters.

Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told local media that Aqeel was also behind the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team as well as an earlier attack on General Pervez Musharraf.

It is not clear how Aqeel was arrested. But army officials said he tried to blow himself up as he was surrounded by army personnel.

In his attempt, he injured himself and also two armymen. The commando operation left three hostages, five terrorists and two commandos dead.

The hostages were taken by retreating militants who had attacked the army headquarters on Saturday. The standoff between security forces and terrorists continued through the night but the army commandos then went in for an operation to free the hostages.