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‘Cold-blooded killings’

world Updated: Dec 05, 2009 00:51 IST

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“The brigadier and his son had entered the mosque while I was being searched by the guards when I heard the first blast and soon after that a second one,” DPA quoted Ishtiaq as saying.

Both the brigadier and his son were among the 40 people killed when suicide attackers stormed a mosque frequented by military men near the Pakistan army headquarters in Rawalpindi spraying bullets on hundreds of Friday worshippers and hurling grenades before blowing themselves up.

DPA cited an eyewitness saying he had seen two gunmen, wearing traditional dress and carrying backpacks, scale the mosque’s outer wall and lob three hand grenades before shooting people in the mosque's courtyard.

“Some other attackers were shooting inside the main mosque building but I could not see them,” he said.

A second eyewitness, a retired major of the paramilitary troops, told Dawn television that the gunmen were very well trained and well equipped.

“From the terrorist point of view, it was a very successful operation — their objective was to kill and get killed, and they achieved it.” According to him, the terrorists “held people from (their) hair and shot them in a cold-blooded manner.” One terrorist blew himself up on the ground floor of the mosque, while his colleague lobbed four hand grenades into the second prayer hall on the first floor before detonating himself on the stairs.

In the aftermath of the attack, security was stepped up in a sprawling walled compound near the mosque that also houses residential blocks for servicemen and their families.

According to Online, security officials found a grey Toyota car with number plate HV 508 near the mosque and it is suspected that it was used to transport the terrorists to the site. Five live hand grenades were recovered from the car and immediately defused by the bomb disposal squad.

Pakistan has been struck by a series of terror attacks since October 5, when the latest wave of violence was unleashed by the Taliban which is battling the army in the rugged terrain of South Waziristan.