Pakistan Mosque Battle Kills 9

Islamic students clash with security forces in shootout; 140 wounded
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2007 4:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – A heavy gun battle between Pakistan's government and armed students at a radical mosque has left nine dead, the BBC reports. The melee lasted throughout the day as soldiers traded fire with militant students at Islamabad's controversial Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque. Among the dead were three female students, a soldier, and a journalist.

A moderate Islamist politician finally brokered a ceasefire. Tension had been growing between President Musharraf's government and Lal Masjid for months, as students at the connected madrassas kidnapped police and stockpiled weapons. Musharraf has been reluctant to crack down on the mosque for fear of retaliatory suicide bombers.