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9 policemen shot dead in Lahore

12 July, 2012

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LAHORE: Gunmen on Thursday shot dead nine police and prison staff, and wounded three others after storming a building in Ichhra where they were sleeping, police said.

It was the second attack in three days on security personnel in the province of Punjab, raising fears of a fresh wave of violence.

Police said the dawn attack, in which 10 gunmen stormed a residential property housing officers from the country's troubled northwest who were in the city for training, bore the hallmarks of a similar assault on an army camp on Monday.

Punjab police chief Habibur Rehman said the attackers came on three motorcycles and one car, armed with Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades.

They then stormed the building in the densely populated area of Ichhra, where up to 35 police and prison staff were sleeping early Thursday.

"Nine people have died so far in this attack," Rehman told reporters at the scene.

Rescue workers wrapped bodies in white sheets and survivors sobbed over the deaths of their colleagues as bullet casings lay discarded outside the two-storey grey building.

Lahore city police chief Aslam Tareen told that nine people were also wounded.

Police blamed the "same gang" who killed seven security personnel at an army camp in District Gujrat on Monday.

"All defunct organisations are working in close cooperation with each other" to attack security forces, Rehman told reporters.

A senior security official told that in Monday's attack it was "highly likely" that the gunmen belonged to a banned organisation in league with the Taliban.

End.

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