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Pakistan commandos free 30 hostages; siege ends

world Updated: Oct 11, 2009 13:22 IST

PTI
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Ending a 20-hour siege, Pakistani commandos on Sunday stormed a building near army headquarters in Rawalpindi where heavily-armed terrorists were holed up after targeting the top military facility in a brazen attack, freeing 30 hostages and killing four attackers.

"The operation is over. It was highly successful. We have rescued the hostages in such a large number," chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told state-run PTV.

"Twenty-five hostages were rescued in the first phase and five more were rescued later. The situation is now totally under control.... The entire area has been cleared. There are no terrorists inside," he said.

Maj Gen Abbas said the commandos killed four terrorists, including some who were wearing suicide jackets. He said three of hostages also died during the operation.

The development came a day after a group of terrorists armed with assault rifles and grenades launched an audacious attack on the army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi near here and took several security personnel hostage. Four of the attackers and six security personnel were killed yesterday.

Overall, at least 19 people were killed during the attack -- six soldiers, two commandos, eight terrorists and three hostages.

Troops were conducting mopping up operations to check the presence of other terrorists in the area.

Soon after the attack yesterday, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for it.