Mar 3, 2009

Lahore attack: Eye-witness account

Lahore was gripped by terror when a dozen masked gunmen armed with rifles and rocket launchers attacked a bus carrying members of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team in Liberty Market on Tuesday.
Qasim, a resident of Lahore told that he was in his office, located near the site of the attack, when he heard the first blast at 8:30am. A grenade had been thrown at the bus but it landed about 20 feet away from it. A second grenade was hurled under the bus but the driver managed to manoeuvre the vehicle to ensure the team wasn’t hurt.
Reports claimed that at least five players from the team were injured. According to Qasim, three or four men started firing at the bus shortly after the grenade attack. Eight policemen, accompanying the team for security purposes were killed on the spot during the firing.
Qasim described the scene as witnessed from the roof of his office building from where he saw the gunmen running towards the main roundabout in the market.
‘They were just firing everywhere,’ he said.
People stopped their cars and started running around trying to find places to hide, Al-Fatah store being one of them, the witnessed stated.
He pointed out that police officials did not arrive at the scene until 9:15am. They rushed to the roundabout and cordoned off the area, while ambulances started shifting the injured and the dead to the hospitals. Edhi ambulances were the first to arrive at the scene but high ranking police officials did not arrive until at least an hour had passed since the incident.
Qasim said that the area had been sealed but police were spread in the market collecting evidence. People in the area were confined to their offices or buildings and reports suggest that the gunmen dispersed and are not in the area anymore.

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