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Home > News > Report

Lal Masjid stand off: Ghazi tried to escape

July 14, 2007 19:56 IST

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Amid reports that some foreign-origin Al Qaeda [Images] militants were inside the Lal Masjid when the army stormed it, Pakistani media on Saturday said Rashid Ghazi Abdul, the slain deputy head of the mosque, apparently tried to escape before he was killed.

Ghazi was killed when he was trying to escape through a breach in the wall of Jamia Hafsa, a girls' madrassa in the premises of the mosque, with his three foreign guards, Daily Times quoted intelligence officials as saying.

Pakistan government claimed that talks with Ghazi for his surrender failed after it rejected his last minute plea for a safe passage for foreign militants.

Army commandos reportedly spotted Ghazi and his three guards trying to escape from a breach in the wall created by the troops to rescue women and children held hostage in the compound. Ghazi and his guards were heading towards a stream running behind the madrassa.

'The commandos chased Ghazi and his guards and the latter took refuge in a room near the breach in the wall. One of Ghazi's guards, an Uzbek, fired on a commando who was trying to take a look inside the room. The militant's bullet missed the commando, who retaliated killing all the four men inside,' the report said.

Meanwhile, Pakistani intelligence officials said they have recovered 'a partially burnt passport of a neighboring country during the combing operation. The passport has become the focus of attention for the intelligence agencies since the neighbouring country has a history of targeting jihadi organisations,' the paper reported, without naming any country.

'The foreign passport was found from Ghazi's belongings and has been sent to an intelligence agency for further investigation. The presence of the foreign passport in the residence of the late madrassa leader had left senior intelligence officials wondering if secret agents of the 'enemy state' had penetrated into jihadi organisations,' it said.

Ghazi and his associates tried to burn some documents before heading towards the stream and security forces also found a large amount of partially burnt local and foreign currency in some boxes.

One of the boxes contained undamaged local money amounting to Rs 1.5 million, the report said.

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