UPDATE: Death toll raises to
20, 8 19; students are burning government buildings with molotov cocktails. Police, people in markets and students have been shot, note that the Mosque leaders characterize the students shot as “righteous” – WRONGEOUS!
From Geo news Pakistan:
Over 20 people including students of Lal mosque, four newsmen, a Rangers and a businessman were killed and over 100 others were injured as a result of Lal mosque gun battle, the media reports said. The Lal mosque administration said that at least 15 righteous men of the mosque were killed whereas a businessman was killed in the firing at Abpara market.
The death toll is still feared to rise as the several people out of the injured were reportedly in critical condition. … …Students carrying Kalashnikovs and wearing gas masks took up positions behind sandbags and dirt bunkers chanting “Jihad! Jihad! (Holy war)”, as police in riot vans fired volleys of tear gas. As gunshots rang out, a loudspeaker announcement from the mosque urged “fedayeen” (suicide attackers) to prepare themselves. The mosque is near one of the capital’s busiest shopping areas, which closed for the day.
<<<< Here you can see masked terrorists shooting at police from the walk outside the Lal Masjid mosque. According to government forces they have confirmed that some Jaimsh-e-Muhammed militants inside the mosque, JeM is allied with Al Qaida.
Violence has broken out at Lal Masjid as government and Jaimsh-e-Mohammed forces exhange fire. 11 are reported dead between students and the police. The violence broke out when female students tried to emerge carrying batons — the police fired tear gas to chase them back into the mosque before they could enforce their version of extreme sharia on anyone else in Islamabad.
“I can confirm that one of our troopers has been killed in the firing from inside the mosque,” a senior paramilitary official, Masha Allah, told reporters outside the Lal Masjid. Doctors at a nearby hospital later said two students had also succumbed to their gunshot injuries.
The students have been responsible for threatening shops and passers-by, multiple kidnappings and beatings, threats against the government, Death Fatwahs against magazines and reporters, Fatwahs against government ministers, and threats of suicide bombing Government officials in targeted assassinations.
Gunfire then erupted from the Mosque, killing a Pakistani policeman. Special forces are now on the scene, and sporadic gunfire is being exchanged.
UPDATE: from comments section All things Pakistan:
Ministry of Environment – burnt to the ground.
FG Model School for Girls – set on fire.
UN cars in front of the ministry getting smashed.
All Things Pakistan is covering in depth here:
In a bid to tighten noose around the Lal Masjid administration, the government on Monday reinforced the Rangers force deployed near the mosque with another two wings, each with 500 personnel and lodged them in apartments recently vacated by the Punjab Constabulary near Aabpara. A senior security official, however, told Dawn that the government had no intention of conducting any raid on the mosque and its seminaries. “But the forces deployed near the mosque will take stern action against Lal Masjid students if they take law in their own hands or attack any massage centre or CDs shop,”
UPDATE: BBC has a story with background on the mosque here.
UPDATE: The Geo headline has now changed, the death toll is now set at 8, WordPress will not allow strikethrough in headlines so I will manually change to 8 instead of 20 without showing the corection via strikethrough as normal.
UPDATE: Pak tribune reports heightened security in Islamabad, G-6 area and some foreign embassys evacuating.
UPDATE: All Things Pakistan site is down from exceeding their bandwidth, people in Pakistan are following the story closely. The comments are running very heartily against the miscreants at Lal Masjid, there is also some disaffection with the government from having let this go on so long.
UPDATE: Middle East Times has quotes from Aftab Sherpao:
“They provoked the law enforcing agencies after which they retaliated,” interior minister Aftab Sherpao said. “We do not want bloodshed but we definitely want them to hand over those who opened fire.”
Security officials said that the fighting started when police fired volleys of tear gas after dozens of baton-wielding male and burqa-clad female students attacked policemen near the mosque and took four guns and a radio set.
As people fled to two of the capital’s busiest shopping areas nearby, bearded students exchanged fire with security forces from behind sandbags and bunkers chanting “Jihad! Jihad! [holy war].”
A loudspeaker announcement from the mosque warned of impending suicide attacks. “The blood of the martyrs will not go to waste. We are ready for suicide attacks,” the unidentified mullah’s voice said.
Later students set fire to the nearby ministry of environment building and a nearby property belonging to the Capital Development Authority. A loud blast was heard, believed to be related to the fires.
If you are wondering what the heck this is all about please see these previous articles on the history of the Red Mosque that wants extreme Qutbist Sharia for all of Pakistan.