Attack on Sri Lankan National Cricket Team Kills 8 Pakistanis

Gunmen believed to be Taliban militants opened fire on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan national cricket team Tuesday morning in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing eight people and wounding eight more.

No members of the cricket team were killed; the dead were six Pakistani police officers escorting the team bus and two bystanders. Six police officers, six members of the cricket team and a British cricket coach were reportedly injured.

The New York Times reports:

The police chief said 12 gunmen attacked the cricketers, and were positioned in vehicles, including motorized rickshaws. According to another police official, Shoaib Janbaz, the gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade but it missed the motorcade and did not explode.

Police escorts who were traveling in a van fired back but failed to hit the attackers, witnesses said. The assailants fled in the rickshaws and another vehicle stolen near the scene, Mr. Janbaz said, leaving behind rucksacks filled with pistols, hand grenades and an AK-47 assault rifle, he said. Television footage showed several of the gunmen firing with apparent impunity, spraying bullets from automatic rifles from the traffic circle and a grassy sidewalk area.

The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, described the shooting as a terrorist attack, and said there were similarities with the bloody assaults in Mumbai, India, in November.

"They had heavy weapons," said Mr. Taseer, as he arrived at the scene. "These were the same methods and the same sort of people as hit Mumbai."

Said former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif, "Cricketers have never been attacked in Pakistan despite what the situation has been in the country. Today is a black day for Pakistan cricket and a black day for Pakistan."

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