Pakistan attackers laid siege then fled: police

LAHORE, March 3, 2009 (AFP) – The attackers who ambushed Sri Lanka’s cricketers near a Pakistani stadium mounted a sophisticated assault using rockets, grenades and guns before escaping in stolen cars, police said. Witnesses said the attack started with an explosion at 08:40 am (0340 GMT) as a convoy carrying the Sri Lankan national team and umpires was winding its way through Liberty Square in Lahore during the morning rush hour.

Liberty Square, in the city’s plush commercial district, is a kilometre (half a mile) from the Gaddafi stadium where the team had been due to play Pakistan on the third day of the second Test.

“The plan was apparently to kill the Sri Lankan team but the police came in the way and forced the attackers to run away,” Lahore’s police chief Habib-ur Rehman said.

Rehman said up to 12 gunmen ambushed the convoy with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons, unleashing a fierce gunbattle with security forces.

Seven Sri Lankan players sustained relatively minor wounds but a series of lucky failures prevented the attack from inflicting far more serious carnage.

“The high quantity of weapons recovered from the site of the attack suggest the terrorists were well-p