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PAKISTAN COMMANDOS RESCUE 39 HOSTAGES, 3 KILLED

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RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistani commandos stormed an office building on Sunday and rescued 39 people taken hostage by suspected Taliban militants after a brazen attack on the army's headquarters.
  • The strike at the heart of the powerful military called into question government assertions the militants were virtually crippled by recent setbacks. But officials said it only underlined the need to finish them off.
  • "It has been decided, the civilian leadership has decided ... the operation is imminent," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters in an interview in Singapore.
  • Three hostages, two commandos and four of the gunmen were killed in the pre-dawn rescue operation, said army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. One wounded gunman was captured and Abbas said he was the ringleader.
  • "Now there is no terrorist left there. The operation is over," Abbas told Reuters.
  • The United States condemned the latest attack and expressed confidence in the security of its ally's nuclear arsenal.
  • Pakistani Taliban militants linked to al Qaeda have launched numerous attacks over the past couple of years, most aimed at the government and security forces, including bomb attacks in Rawalpindi.
  • On Saturday, gunmen wearing army uniforms attacked the army headquarters, killing six soldiers including a brigadier and a lieutenant colonel in a gunbattle at a main gate.
Source: Reuters
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