Sri Lankan team attacked in Lahore, Pakistan tour called off

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Five Sri Lankan cricket players have been injured in a terror attack in area around Liberty Market near Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. Those who have been injured are Ajantha Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and team coach Paul Farbrace.

The injured players are back in their hotel. Earlier, they were taken to hospital in the city.

The 4th umpire Ahsan Raza has also been injured and has been reported to be critical.

According to the team manager, the incident took place when the team was heading for the third day's play in the second Test against Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan has been cancelled and the team has been called back.

Five policemen in Pakistan have been killed in the attack. The entire area around Liberty market has been cordoned off.

According to the Pakistan police, 12 terrorists were involved in the attack on Lankan team. The terrorists were armed with rockets, grenades and AK-47s.

Police has arrested four suspects in the Model Town area of Pakistan.

Pakistan sports minister has apologized to Lanka government for the gruesome attack.

"We are assessing the situation," Pakistan cricket board chief Ejaz Butt said.

According to the reports, army helicopter airlifted the Lankan players to Lahore airport. The team will fly back to Colombo via Abu Dhabi. Three doctors are accompanying the Sri Lankan team till Colombo.

Sri Lanka has sent foreign minister Rohitha Bogollegama to Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan army chief has met Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari.

[NDTV Correspondent, Tuesday, March 03, 2009, (Lahore)]

Source : NDTV / Sri Lankan team attacked in Lahore, Pakistan tour called off

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Islamabad: A Pakistani minister accused India of being behind the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in the city of Lahore on Tuesday, saying the attackers had crossed into Pakistan from India.

"The evidence which we have got shows that these terrorists entered from across the border from India," Sardar Nabil Ahmed Gabol, minister of state for shipping, told private Geo television.

"This was a conspiracy to defame Pakistan internationally." "This incident took place in reaction to 26/11," he said referring to the Mumbai attacks in November in which at least 170 people were killed. "It is a declaration of open war on Pakistan by India," said the minister, who is not one of the government's official spokesmen, but belongs to President Asif Ali Zardari's party.

Source : CNN IBN / Pak minister blames India for attack on Lanka team

New Delhi: In a daring raid reminiscent of the Mumbai attack, terrorists in Lahore targeted the Sri Lankan cricket team that is currently touring Pakistan on Tuesday morning.

Unidentified gunmen, believed to be 12 in number and armed with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket launchers, opened fire on the bus carrying the cricketers to Gaddafi stadium in the city, Dawn news channel reported.

Initial reports said the attackers came in a white car and reportedly surrounded the bus at Liberty Chowk in the heart of the city and first fired rockets at the bus. They then resorted to indiscriminate firing with automatic firearms.

The attackers then started firing at a police van which was providing security to the Lankan team.

City police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said five policemen died in the attack.

A Pakistani Cricket Board official said six players were injured and admitted to a hospital.

The players reported injured are Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Mahela Jayawardene, Tharanga Paranavithana and Chaminda Vaas. Vaas was reportedly carried off on a stretcher while Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavithana were reportedly shot at.

A Lanka team spokesperson has now said that both Tharanga and Samaraweera are out of danger.

Six policemen are reported dead. The van carrying the umpires was also attacked. Assistant coach Paul Farbrace has also been reportedly injured.

The Sri Lankan tour has been officially called off.

The audacious attack in the heart of the city is reminiscent of the attack on Mumbai hotels. It is a clear pointer to what the perpetrators had on their mind ? a Mumbai-like reaction and outrage from international community.

The impunity with which the attack was carried out, especially when cricketing events in the country sees unprecedented security measure, is sure to rattle the international community about security measures in Pakistan.

Speaking to the media after the attack, Punjab Governor Salmaan Tahseer said: "They are the same people who attacked Mumbai. It's a Mumbai-like operation. These were trained killers and are not ordinary criminals."

After initial postponement, India had officially called off its cricket tour to Pakistan on December 18 after the government refused permission to the team in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

That cancellation followed after relations between the neighbours deteriorated further following the 26/11 attacks.

Indian cricket team was scheduled to play three Tests, five One-Dayers and a Twenty20 match from January 4 to February 28 in Pakistan.

Security concerns in Pakistan have troubled tours in that country before as well. As many as three tours were canceled in the last year alone.

Australia pulled out of their scheduled visit, while the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in September.

Source : CNN IBN / Sri Lankan team attacked in Pak, 6 injured

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