Pakistani Government: Cleric at Radical Mosque Killed
10 July 2007
Pakistan's interior ministry says the cleric leading resistance at a radical mosque stormed by Pakistani troops has been killed.
Details surrounding Abdul Rashid Ghazi's death have not been confirmed. The Muslim cleric is thought to have been barricaded in the Red Mosque's basement, where the military said he was using women and children as human shields.
Pakistani security forces stormed the Red Mosque's compound in an operation that officials say has left at least 50 Islamic militants and eight soldiers dead.
A military spokesman, Major General Waheed Arshad, said troops now control most of the complex.
Authorities said the military has rescued at least 70 people.
Ghazi's followers want to install strict Taleban-style Islamic law in the country. Negotiations for their surrender had broken down before the military launched its assault.
Ghazi had said everyone with him in the mosque would rather die fighting than surrender to government forces. He had said he hoped his death would provoke an Islamic revolution in Pakistan.
The government says some militants in the mosque are linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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