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UAV halts Pak plans to storm Lal Masjid
July 09, 2007 11:59 IST
Pakistan security forces have reportedly deferred plans to storm the Lal Masjid on Monday and are looking into a new strategy after getting fresh information of the situation inside the besieged mosque through an unmanned aerial vehicle. Police also searched houses and madrassas in the area for suspected terrorists and suicide bombers while helicopters surveyed the roof tops in the area. Rangers also stormed press club campus in the area and detained two staffers, Daily Times
Military officials, who were on Sunday night given an all clear signal from President Pervez Musharraf [Images] to raid the complex, altered their strategy in light of the new information.
The UAV hovered over the Lal Masjid, where the militants are holed up, for more than two hours on Sunday night and took pictures of the besieged mosque. The plane recorded the images of people present at Lal Masjid and the girls' madrassa, Jamia Hafsa, and their movements.
In light of the information provided by the images, a new strategy against Lal Masjid has been adopted, Geo TV reported.
After a meeting with top military officials, Musharraf had given a clearance to storm the sprawling mosque and there was speculation that the operation will take place in the early hours of Monday. However, except for sporadic firing, the situation remained the same.
During Sunday night's meeting, Musharraf was presented with three options -- launch an air strike, gas the compound to render the inmates unconscious or launch ground assault. There was no word yet on which option was cleared and when the operation would be launched.
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