Mar 3, 2009

Gunmen attack Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore

Masked gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus in Lahore on Tuesday, killing at least eight people and wounding six team members, police said.
Up to 12 gunmen attacked the team’s convoy near the Gaddafi stadium with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons, triggering a 25-minute gunbattle with security forces, said Lahore police chief chief Habib-ur Rehman.
‘They appeared to be well-trained terrorists,’ said Rehman.
A police official said that two civilians and six police officers who were guarding the players were killed in the attack, which happened as the team was heading for the third day’s play in the second Test against Pakistan.
Television footage showed several gunmen creeping through trees, crouching to aim their weapons and then running onto the next target.
Crystals of broken glass littered the road next to a gun cartridge and an empty rocket-propelled grenade launcher. A police motorbike was shown crashed sideways into the road at the Liberty Chowk roundabout.
Bullet holes ripped through the windscreen of another vehicle and a white car was shown smashed headlong into the roundabout as nervous security officers guarded the site.Pakistani officials gave no details about the fate of the gunmen who they said arrived at the scene in rickshaws.
Sri Lankan officials said six team members — five players and a coach — were wounded and that the team was immediately ending its tour of Pakistan.
Assistant coach Paul Farbrace and star batsman Thilan Samaraweera were kept in hospital although their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, said Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge.
Captain Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tharanga Paranavithana and Ajantha Mendis suffered only minor injuries, he said.
Samaraweera is one of Sri Lanka’s leading players and earlier this week became only the seventh batsmen in Test cricket to notch a double hundred in consecutive matches.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but fears of attacks by militants linked to Al-Qaeda have caused many teams to postpone or cancel cricket tours to Pakistan in recent years.
The attack cast another cloud over Pakistan cricket which has been reeling from a string of cancelled tours and tournaments.

No comments:

Post a Comment