Sri Lankan cricketers hurt in Pakistan attack: police

LAHORE, March 3, 2009 (AFP) – Masked gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Tuesday, killing at least eight people and wounding six team members, police said. Sri Lankan officials said six team members — five players and a coach — were wounded and that the team was immediately ending its tour of Pakistan.

Assistant coach Paul Farbrace and star batsman Thilan Samaraweera were kept in hospital although their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, said Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tharanga Paranavithana and Ajantha Mendis suffered only minor injuries, he said.

Samaraweera is one of Sri Lanka’s leading players and earlier this week became only the seventh batsmen in Test cricket to notch a double hundred in consecutive matches.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but fears of attacks by Islamic militants linked to Al-Qaeda have caused many teams to postpone or cancel cricket tours to Pakistan in recent years.

The shooting also came as the Sri Lankan army pushed its final offensive against ethnic Tamil rebels in the north of the cou