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Red alert in Pak amidst fear of attacks

world Updated: Jul 29, 2007 21:00 IST

PTI
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Pakistan government has sounded a red alert in the wake of reports about presence of 600 suicide bombers within the limits of national capital and asked security personnel to avoid gathering in groups and not to wear uniform in public.

Pakistan's federal capital is likely to suffer from more suicide bombings as around 600 suicide bombers are hiding in madrassas and mosques within and around the limits of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Daily Times quoted officials as saying.

Most of these suicide bombers were believed to be those who went missing after the crackdown on Lal Masjid and the boys and girls madrasas attached to it.

"Around 600 students of Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Fareedia have not returned to their homes after the Lal Masjid operation. These are the people called 'missing students' and they are hiding in madrassas and mosques in and around the two cities. These are walking bombs and are determined to blow themselves up any time, anywhere," officials, involved in the ongoing investigation of suicide blasts in the country, said.

According to reports, one such suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of policemen on Friday killing 14 people, including eight policemen, and wounding over 60.

The presence of the bombers was revealed by the sacked chief cleric of Lal Masjid Abdul Aziz, who is in custody.

"During interrogation, Aziz said five to six hundred students of the two madrassas had been trained, equipped and brainwashed to carry out suicide attacks. These students left the madrassa according to a plan before the final operation against the mosque was launched," the official said.

Some girl students had also been trained to provide support to these bombers, the official quoted Aziz as saying. Together the boys and girls madrassa had over 7000 students mostly children from poor families.

"During the debriefing of students from Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, the security agencies learnt that they believed that President Pervez Musharraf and his team were 'kaafirs' (non-believers) and agents of the US and had to be killed. The bombers are targeting army and law enforcement personnel to avenge the killings of their colleagues and Abdul Rashid Ghazi," the official said.

"Neither the operation nor massive killings can resolve this issue. It will instead trigger an unending bloodbath throughout the country," he quoted Aziz as saying.

Meanwhile, Interior Ministry has warned soldiers and officers of the Pakistan Army, Frontier Constabulary, Elite Force, Anti-Riots Force, Punjab Rangers and Punjab Constabulary against moving in public places and driving private cars while in uniform, the newspaper reported.

It warned that suicide bombers could target the civil armed forces and Punjab Constabulary to avenge the Lal Masjid operation that left more than 102 dead, mostly madrassa students and militant cleric Ghazi.

The ministry has asked the Islamabad administration to improve its coordination with the intelligence agencies to stop terror attacks in the national capital.

On Friday, the militant students, in a failed attempt, tried to recapture the Lal Masjid when it was reopen for the Friday prayers nearly two weeks after the military operation against the militant students.

The Lal Masjid, which was painted red by the students on Friday during a brief capture of the mosque, was again repainted with peach colour on Saturday.

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