Pakistan security forces storm army intelligence office, free hostages

By Riaz Khan, AP
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pakistan security forces end hostage drama

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Security forces stormed an army intelligence office in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday and freed two people who had been taken hostage by escaped militant prisoners, officials said.

There were no fatalities in the operation and the militants surrendered, said Liaqat Ali Khan, a top police official.

He said the trouble began as about three or four militants were being moved inside the offices.

“When they were being shifted from one compound to another, all of a sudden they grabbed guns from one of the guards and opened fire” and took two people hostage, he said.

One guard was injured in the shooting.

That was followed by a 10-hour gunbattle and the operation to free the hostages. Khan would give no details on the operation.

Police officials initially said militants had attacked the army intelligence office from outside.

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 nine of them, intelligence officials said.

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, the two intelligence officials said. They 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.

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