Six Sri Lankan cricket players wounded in bus attack in Pakistan
Six members of the Sri Lankan cricket squad were wounded when around a dozen gunmen attacked their bus as it drove under police escort on Tuesday to a stadium in the Pakistani city of Lahore, witnesses and officials said.
Lahore Police chief Habib-ur-Rehman said five people were killed in the attack by the unidentified gunmen, who fired AK 47s and rockets and hurled grenades as the team bus drove to the 60,000-seater Gaddafi stadium in the eastern city.
Sri Lanka’s sports minister said five players and an assistant coach were wounded, two of whom were being treated in hospital.
“Police are chasing the terrorists,” police chief Habib-ur-Rehman said. “They appeared to be trained men.”
The attack had echoes with one on the Indian city of Mumbai in November which led to the Indian cricket team cancelling its planned tour of Pakistan.
India blamed that attack on Pakistan-trained militants and the incident sharply raised tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Sri Lanka, which had been invited to Pakistan after India pulled out, immediately cancelled the rest of the tour.
“We are trying to bring the team back as quickly as possible,” a Sri Lankan cricket official said.
Pakistan TV showed footage of gunmen with rifles and backpacks running through the streets and firing on unidentified vehicles.
The driver of the Sri Lankan team coach said one of the attackers had thrown a grenade under the bus, but it did not detonate.
A witness told Reuters he believed two police commandos were killed along with a regular policeman and a traffic warden.
Shopkeeper Ahmed Ali said the two police commandos had been driving behind the team bus when they were hit.
“It was a very heavy firing and I heard at least two explosions at the time,” said a Reuters witness who had been on his way to cover the test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Cricketer Thilan Samaraweera seemed to be the worst hit, suffering a thigh injury, a player on the team bus who did not wish to be identified told Reuters by phone.
It was unclear whether injuries were caused by bullets, shrapnel or flying shards of glass.
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