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3 attackers of the Sri Lankan cricket team in the 2009 attack killed in Lahore

Tharanga Paranavitana in a hospital at Colombo recuperating from the bullet attack
Modified 28 Aug 2016, 20:59 IST

Three terrorists who were apparently involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan in 2009 were killed in a police encounter in Lahore on Sunday. According to the corps, the deceased were identified as Zubair alias Naik Muhammad, Abdul Wahab, Adnan Arshad and Attiqur Rehman. While the first three were directly involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan team, Rehman was the prime suspect in Moon Market bombing in Lahore in 2008.

The counter Terrorism Department revealed that the local authorities had received prior information regarding terrorists hiding in a building in Lahore’s Manawan area. As police entered the area, the terrorists were lying concealed so as to attack by surprise that resulted in a long one and a half hour gun battle that killed four attackers.

However, other terrorists were successful in fleeing from the scene. Meanwhile, the CTD has already started a search operation. “The police team, which came under attack from terrorists, returned fire, killing four of them on the spot while the remaining three managed to escape,” said a CTD spokesperson.

The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team took place on March 4, 2009, when the team bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers was fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The cricketers were on their way to the stadium to play the 3rd day of the 2nd Test against the hosts.

Six Pakistani cops and two civilians were killed during the brutal attack. Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana were hospitalized soon after the attack as they sustained shrapnel wounds in their thigh and chest respectively. Other Sri Lankan players who suffered minor injuries included their captain Mahela Jaywerdena, vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Chaminda Vaas and Suranga Lakmal. The team’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace was also injured.

Reserve umpire Ahsan Raza who was there in the umpire’s van was shot twice and was taken to the hospital in a critical condition. The attackers had fired a rocket at the bus which eventually missed the bus and hit the nearby electric pole.

Also read: Wasim Akram worried about the state of ODI cricket in Pakistan

The driver of the bus, Mehar Mohammad Khalil had kept on driving for about 500 meters till they reached the stadium. Khalil was hailed as a hero for his extraordinary bravery but lost his life after a grenade was thrown under the bus which exploded after the bus had passed over it.

The Sri Lankan team were taken to the stadium and was airlifted in helicopters. Immediate arrangements were made for the Sri Lankan team to fly back to Colombo on the next available flight.

Published 28 Aug 2016, 20:24 IST
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