'Dozens dead' as Red Mosque stormed

Deaths as military moves in after negotiations led by former premier break down.

    Ambulances rushing to the Red mosque compound to take away casualties [AFP]

    Your Views

    "I would not say that they are following the teachings of the Prophet, but the warped version of their warped clerics"

    Chris, Stockholm, Sweden

     
    Send us your views

    "As far as a figure of militants is concerned the information I have from troops carrying out the operation is around 40," major-general Waheed Arshad, the chief military spokesman, told reporters.
     
    "Three security officials are shaheed [martyred], 15 injured," he added.
     
    Al Jazeera's Rageh Omaar said the mosque compound is a large and complex building which will take the military a long time to cover, in the attempt to combat the armed students.
     
    The army will have to go room by room in a thorough search of those still inside the mosque.
    He added that there was no sign of the armed
    students giving themselves up.
    Earlier on Tuesday Pakistani forces stormed the mosque compound in the capital after negotiations to an end a bloody standoff broke down.
     
    Arshad said security forces launched an operation at 4am (23:00 GMT on Monday) "to clear the madrasa of militants".
     
    "The militants are using small arms and grenades. They are in the basement, we have covered the rooftop," he said, adding that the operation was expected to take three or four hours.
     
    Failed talks
     
    Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a former prime minister and ruling party leader who led negotiations with those inside, said the final effort to secure a peaceful solution had failed.
     
    "I am returning very disappointed," he said.
     
    Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder said Pakistani officials had been hoping for a peaceful end to the seven-day standoff at the Islamabad mosque after negotiators offered religious leaders inside a deal.
     
    The deal was believed to have been arranged after Hussain met Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president.
     
    Hyder said Hussain had gone back to the mosque with an offer of safe passage, one of the demands of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the mosque's deputy leader.
     
    Security forces had previously held back from mounting a full-scale assault because of fears for the safety of women and children that they said were being held hostage by Ghazi.
     
    Ghazi said he had nearly 2,000 followers with him and that no one was being held hostage.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.