Islamabad: At least 40 militants have been killed in a commando raid on 10 July on a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital, the military said.
“The operation is still progressing,” defence ministry spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad told a private television channel.
He told reporters that the security forces entered from different points. “According to my information part of the mosque has been cleared but heavy fighting was on in madrasa,” he said.
Doctors earlier said that three elite police commandos were killed and seven injured in the assault on the Red Mosque.
“The militants are using small arms and grenades. They are in the basement, we have coverted the roof top,” he said.
“We are facing resistance from the basement. Such an operation could take three or four hours,” he said.
He said 20 children kept inside the complex by the militants have been rescued. He said he has no information about the claim of Deputy administrator of the Masjid Abdul Rashid Ghazi that his mother has been killed.
State run PTV said there was direct to direct confrontation between commandos and militants.
Pakistani troops stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad today to clear the compound of rebels after talks aimed at ending a siege failed.
Between 150 and 300 militants are offering “intense resistance” and both sides are “using hand grenades and guns”. Two members of the security forces were killed and eight wounded, while 10 militants died and 15 were injured. Arshad added that 20 children escaped after the attack.
“We tried our best to prevent more bloodshed,” Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani said in a telephone interview after the troops entered the mosque. “We tried our best to convince Ghazi to release the women and children.”