Commandos Free 39 Hostages Ending Militant Siege in Pakistan
Pakistani troops storm army HQ, freeing 39 hostages By Masroor Gilani (AFP) 4 hours ago RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Troops stormed Pakistan's army headquarters Sunday ending a day-long hostage drama and freeing 39 people held by militants who brazenly struck at the heart of the military establishment. Three hostages, two soldiers and four suspected Taliban militants were killed in a rescue operation hailed by the military as "highly successful", despite a total of 19 dead since the rebels launched their assault. Six soldiers and four other militants had already been killed in the nearly 24-hour siege, which began Saturday in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and was the third dramatic militant strike in the nuclear-armed nation in a week. The audacious attack exposed Pakistan's vulnerability in the face of a Taliban militia who have regrouped after the death of their leader and are determined to thwart an army assault on their tribal hideouts, analysts said. Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said troops went in at about 6:00 am (0000 GMT) and met with resistance from five militants armed with suicide vests and barricaded in the building in the city adjoining Islamabad. "Thirty-nine hostages were rescued and three were killed," Abbas told AFP, adding that the captives were shot dead by the militants. "The militants had suicide jackets, improvised explosive devices, grenades... they wanted to blow up all the hostages and cause maximum damage." He said that two soldiers <b>...</b>
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