Troops Storm Pakistan Mosque Compound

After fierce firefight, 20 children brought to safety
By J. Kelman,  Newser User
Posted Jul 9, 2007 11:10 PM CDT
Troops Storm Pakistan Mosque Compound
Ambulances are parked near the Lal masjid (Red Mosque) as fighting between militants and government forces erupted in Islamabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Troops stormed the compound of Islamabad's Red Mosque on Tuesday, prompting a fierce battle with militants accused of holding about 150...   (Associated Press)

The Pakistani military stormed the Red Mosque in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a week after the army surrounded the building. Peace negotiations broke down earlier in the day, the BBC reports, after the Islamic militants holding the building demanded full amnesty in exchange for the release of the hostages held inside.

Three soldiers and 20 militants have already been killed in the operation, which is ongoing. Twenty children were able to escape; it's estimated that hundreds more women, children, and students remain inside. But the government's return to violent tactics—after its brief flirtation with negotiation—may be exactly what the militants want. "My martyrdom is certain now," the mosque's leader told one reporter. (More Pakistan stories.)

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