Prime Minister Putin expresses sympathy over Pakistan attacks (3 Updates)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, on Friday, conveyed his condolences to his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani over the deadly attack by Islamic extremists on two mosques in Pakistan's second largest city of Lahore earlier in the day.
The attacks left 80 people dead and more than 100 injured. A group of armed men threw grenades at, and then opened fire on, about 2,000 worshippers who had gathered for Friday prayers in two Ahmadi mosques in the eastern Pakistani city.
The Islamist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Punjab, a branch of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attacks.”We resolutely condemn all forms of terrorism and back your government’s efforts aimed at stamping out terrorist groups in Pakistan,” Prime Minister Putin said in a message.
First Published May 29, 2010 01:02
Updated May 29, 2010 03:33
Pakistani police have arrested two suspects in Friday’s deadly terrorist attack on a mosque on Lahore. Islamist gunmen and a suicide squad lobbed grenades, sprayed bullets from atop a minaret and took hostages Friday in attacks on two mosques packed with worshippers from a minority sect in Pakistan. At least 80 people were killed and dozens wounded.
Updated May 29, 2010 13:25
The ITAR-TASS news agency reports that, according to specified data, at least 90 people died in the act of terror against an Indian passenger train on Friday. Some 200 are reported injured. Rescue work is going on now, 24 hours after the train was derailed by a group of Maoists in the West Bengal state of India. Experts are exploring the two carriages of the high-speed passenger train that were the first to collide with the freight train that was coming in the opposite direction. The Maoists said that May 28th started the so-called “black week”, adding that they would go on with their attacks unless the authorities halted operations to do away with the Maoist groups. Five homemade explosive devices were found and defused on a railway track in the state of Orissa earlier today.
Updated May 29, 2010 13:35
The attack on the two mosques of the Ahmadi Islamic sect in the Paskistani city of Lahore have become one of the bloodiest extremist attacks in Pakistan over the past few years.
A group of gunmen started firing and bombing the mosques during a traditional Friday sermon. The attackers entered the prayer halls, when some 2,000 people were inside, killing dozens of them, while others were taken hostage. Eyewitnesses say the attackers wore beards and had backpacks. It took special forces troops about 2 hours to expel the rebels from the mosques.
A group calling itself Punjabi Taleban claimed it was behind the attacks. This group comprises some smaller extremist groups. However, Islamists have not been that active in eastern Pakistan recently, in comparison to other regions of the country, especially the north-west known for its long battles between the militants and the army. Experts think the Lahore massacre was meant to distract the authorities from the situation in the north-west.
An expert in oriental studies, Georgy Mirsky, had these comments: "The number of victims is not their priority, the main task is to undermine stability in the region. Extremists want ordinary Pakistanis to feel such a level of despair as to demand the authorities to stop anti-Taliban operations in the north-west. They expect people to say that the war with the Taliban has nothing to do with their lives".
There are other points of view. Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Vyacheslav Belokrinitsky said: "From time to time, every extremist group has to carry out such attacks to show the authorities that they are ready to attack. Terrorism relies on public attention. Otherwise, it cannot promote its ideology. The recent attacks in Lahore also show a tendency for anti-sectarian campaigning, this is an attempt to put society on the brink of a schism and undermine the stability Pakistan has managed to achieve recently".
The President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev condemned the massacre in Lahore and said there is no excuse for such crime. He expressed condolences to his Pakistani counterpart Ali Zardari and said Russia is always ready for cooperation against terror.