Mosque Siege Ends; Cleric Dead

Crossfire takes out militants' leader
By NewsDude ,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2007 9:22 AM CDT
Pakistan army commandos prepare to storm the Lal Masjid or Red Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Pakistani commandos cornered the last die-hard militants at Islamabad's mosque and...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pakistani army troops stormed Islamabad's Red Mosque early today, ending the siege that had dragged on for over a week and killing at least 50 militants and their leader, the highest-ranking cleric still within the compound. The interior ministry told the Times of London that Abdul Rashid Ghazi was attempting to surrender when he was caught in crossfire.

More than 70 of the hundreds of women and children held hostage by the militants escaped as government commandos swept through the compound, where activists had been agitating for Sharia law for months. Talks between the rebels and the government broke down at about 3:30am local time, and the assault began an hour later. (Read more Pakistan stories.)