This comment from Metroblogging tells you what you need know about Lt. Colonel Haroon Islam:
That Commander was leading from the front, not like these cowards hiding behind the hostages or running in a Burqa.
Update: President Musharraf and honor guard attend Lt. Colonel Haroon Islam’s funeral, from AP Pakistan:
President General Pervez Musharraf, Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ahsan Saleem Hyat Sunday morning attended the Nimaz-e-Jinaza of martyred Army Officer Lt Col Haroon-ul-Islam and offered Fateha. A large number of other senior civil and military Officers and relatives of the Shaheed officer attended Nimaza-e-Jinaza held at Chaklala.
Lieutenant Colonel Haroon Islam, embraced martyrdom on Saturday in an operation against the militants, entrenched at Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, in the federal capital. A smartly turned out contingent of the Army presented Guard of Honour to the Shaheed Lieutenant Colonel Haroon ul Islam.
Update: There are also reports of Uzbek foreign nationals inside, and it appears that the authorities have the lines bugged. They have picked up background conversation and cell conversations in Arabic. This should come as no surprise, since both brothers have known ties to Non-Pakistani extremists. The surprising thing was the reports of Mehsud fighters in the mosque earlier, since I do not believe the two groups would mix at this time. Two militants attacked from outside using heavy weapons Sunday, but were shot down.
UPDATE: BBC picks up the story on Al Qaida aligned terror group members inside Lal Masjid.
UPDATE: Abdul Rasheed is now telling reporters that 300+ students are dead, obviously he is lying to fan flames as this number keeps growing each time he talks to a new reporter, the government denies this figure.
UPDATE: Clarification from Chicago Tribune regarding the “firing” as the MMA pols tried to enter — the real story matches what I speculated on last post:
When a delegation of politicians from a far-right religious party attempted to enter the mosque Saturday with hopes of mediating talks, it got caught in crossfire between security forces and militants and was forced to withdraw. One of the politicians was later arrested for allegedly trying to take food and water inside the compound.
The politicians blamed the government for deliberately sabotaging the peacemaking effort, but officials said radicals in the mosque fired first. The government has been trying to force the militants to surrender by depriving them of food, water and electricity.
UPDATE: Reports of 240 militants killed — curfew relaxed — From Metroblogging:
A RELAXATION IN CURFEW IN G-6 WILL BEING AT 10 AM AND LAST ATLEAST 2 HOURS. Half an hour from now, G-6 will be open for outsiders and insiders access. The area around Lal Masjid however remains cordoned off to a greater extent.
Last night a lot of news came in. A leading figure in the operation passed away in the hospital. More headway was made on the southern side of Jamia Hafsa. Three loud explosions were heard as far as Rawalpindi. Unconfirmed reports claim that the operations today and yesterday have caused 250 to 300 militants’ death. There is a greater number of students inside than that which is being reported. Six escaping militants have been caught by the forces securing the parameter outside. [Editor: Italicization and bolding above is mine.]
In this picture you see the evil death cult vision of how the cowardly brothers think children should behave, and in this article you can read more about the sick brainwashing these two brothers have performed on the children. This is child-abuse.
The latest update from Metroblogging reports three loud explosions:
July 8th 01:20 AM
Three massive explosions in the curfew zone on the Lal Masjid have been head as far as G-10! The fire and the fighting has restarted, just about 10 minutes ago!
As it seems, the inmates of Lal Masjid come out, start firing from inside the walls and the military replies with guns and shells… but these were three very loud explosions with equal time intervals, and one can only pray to God for the safety of human life!
UPDATE: Apparently the gunfight broke out as the SSG units breached more walls to allow more escape paths to the children inside. Story here.
Instead, troops have been blasting holes in the wall to provide escape routes for those inside.
Gunfire erupted shortly after 1 a.m. (2000 GMT on Saturday) and about 20 minutes later three big blasts sounded across the capital as the commandos blew up the wall of the madrasa.
“We’ve already made four or five holes and tonight also two or three holes were made,” Waheed said.
“While these operations were being carried there was intense firing from the militants,” he said. The unit commander was killed and one commando wounded.
The death toll in the standoff since Tuesday is at least 21.
The cleric leading the Lal Masjid’s Taliban-style movement, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, said up to 80 people had been killed inside his compound. The government dismissed that.