Captured militants attack guards in army intelligence office in NW Pakistan, sparking battle

By Riaz Khan, AP
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Captured militants attack guards in NW Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Captured Islamist militants seized weapons from their guards and took them hostage during an interrogation Saturday in northwestern Pakistan, setting off a gunbattle that paralyzed parts of the city, officials said.

Police officials initially said militants had attacked the army intelligence office from outside, but other officials later said there had been no external assault.

The militants “overpowered two sentries” and took them hostage, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the Pakistani army spokesman.

Further details remained hazy. The area around the office was sealed off soon after the attack, which began about 6 a.m. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard more than seven hours later, shutting down blocks of Peshawar city.

Peshawar is the capital of troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where militants often target police and security forces.

The shooting began hours after suspected U.S. missiles struck two vehicles carrying militants in northwestern Pakistan, killing four of them.

The overnight missile attack occurred in the troubled Kurram tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The slain men were from the Haqqani Network, which is blamed for launching attacks across the border on American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, two intelligence officials said. The spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The CIA has repeatedly targeted militant positions in Pakistan’s tribal regions, but such strikes in Kurram are rare.

Associated Press Writer Hussain Afzal in Parachinar contributed to this report.

will not be displayed