Skip to comments.Fresh clashes as Pakistan cleric vows death before surrender (Red Mosque)
Posted on 07/06/2007 10:26:24 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Fresh clashes and blasts rocked Islamabad early Saturday after a Pakistani cleric besieged in a mosque in the capital vowed that he and his followers would prefer death over surrender.
But in a blow to the hardline cleric, police seized control of Jamia Faridia, a separate Islamic seminary affiliated with the Red Mosque.
"Police stormed into Jamia Faridia and arrested dozens of students and shifted them to an unknown place," a senior security official told AFP.
Authorities feared that male students from the Faridia seminary, two miles (three kilometres) from the Red Mosque, would open another front against the government as the bloody confrontation entered its fifth day.
Since sporadic fighting began on Tuesday, 19 people have been killed.
Dozens of trucks carrying troops moved towards the mosque just before daybreak as the gunfire continued amid heavy monsoon rain.
No calls for pre-dawn prayer were heard over battered mosque's loudspeakers for the second day in a row, indicating life inside the mosque has been severely disrupted by the siege.
Authorities have forced journalists to further move away from the area, an AFP photographer said.
Early Saturday fresh gunfire and blasts erupted at the Red Mosque after a seven-hour lull, but officials said security forces had not stormed the fortified complex of buildings.
"We are not making any advances, this is part of the operation to secure the release of women and children held hostage by the cleric," a security official told AFP.
Militant students lobbed grenades and petrol bombs at security forces, who responded by firing, he added. It was not immediately known if there were any new casualties.
Abdul Rashid Ghazi, deputy leader of the pro-Taliban Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, on Friday vowed not to give himself up to government forces.
The government had earlier rejected a conditional surrender offer by Ghazi, whose brother Abdul Aziz, the founder of Faridia seminary, was captured on Wednesday while trying to flee the mosque dressed in a burqa.
"We have decided that we can be martyred but we will not surrender. We are ready for our heads to be cut off but we will not bow to them," Ghazi told the private Geo television station.
The firebrand cleric later gave a sermon to his militant students at traditional Friday prayers in which he said they had already written their wills.
Two heavy blasts rocked the mosque, blowing chunks of debris, believed to be part of its perimeter wall, high above the surrounding treetops on Friday evening.
The mosque official said four students were killed in the clashes on Friday when a mortar fired by security forces hit a room in the mosque, with more casualties in a pre-dawn skirmish. There was no independent confirmation.
Earlier on Friday militants shot and wounded a man wanting to see his daughter inside an Islamic school attached to the mosque, officials said.
Hundreds of Islamic students are still inside the mosque compound, along with up to 60 "hardcore" armed militants, officials have said.
Meanwhile shots were fired after President General Pervez Musharraf's aircraft flew from a military base on Friday for flood-hit southern Pakistan.
"It was an unsuccessful attempt to shoot the president's plane," a security source told AFP.
Two female religious students (R) leave with their family members after being handed over by authorities outside the Red Mosque in Islamabad. Fresh clashes and blasts rocked Islamabad early Saturday after a Pakistani cleric besieged in a mosque in the capital vowed that he and his followers would prefer death over surrender(AFP/Farooq Naeem)
Wonder what happened to the negotiations?
what happened to the negotiations?
Looks like they are at an end..
human vermin....when will this end?
They want death? So kill them. Simple.
This could get ugly. I hope they can keep the casualties under a million.
I thought that Pakistanis’ were good boyz? /sarc
Today there is much civil unrest throughout Pakistan
I am hoping just slightly under 100 million mooselimb crazies.
Sounds o.k. to me, too! Let's get on with it and get this over with.
Oh man, I had to watch that several times.
Commander Killed In Pakistan (Red) Mosque Siege
The Telegraph (UK) | 7-8-2007 | Isambard Wilkinson
Posted on 07/08/2007 9:24:30 PM EDT by blam
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