6 Sri Lanka cricketers hurt, 7 others killed in Lahore shooting

LAHORE: Seven people including five policemen were killed and six Sri Lankan cricketers were wounded in a shooting attack in Lahore on Tuesday.
Sri Lankan tour has been called off after the attack. According to sources, unknown attackers opened fire on Sri Lankan cricket team bus near Gaddafi Stadium.
Intense exchange of fire took place between police and unknown attackers. CCPO Lahore Habibur Rehman said there were 12 attackers carrying rocket launchers; hand grenades, Kalashnikovs who reportedly reached the site in rickshaws. Seven people including five cops were killed in the shooting.

No World Cup games in Pakistan unless dramatic change: ICC

LONDON: Pakistan cannot host international cricket unless it dramatically improves security, the head of the sport's world body said after Tuesday's Lahore attacks, questioning notably the 2011 World Cup.
"In the current situation it clearly is a very dangerous place," David Morgan, president of the International Cricket Council, told media after the deadly attacks on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore.
Asked about plans for the World Cup, due to be played in four Indian subcontinent countries, Morgan said: "Things will have to change dramatically in Pakistan in my opinion if any of the games are to be staged there."
"I think that international cricket in Pakistan is out of the question until there is a very significant change, a regime change I guess," he added.
An ICC spokesman said he assumed Morgan was referring to a call by Pakistani senators this week for the Pakistani cricket board to be sacked.
Eight people died when the Sri Lankan cricket team's convoy was attacked by masked gunmen as they traveled to play at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. Seven team members were injured.
Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Hasan meanwhile told British media that it was too early to talk of the end of international cricket in his country.
"I wouldn't like to rush to that sort of conclusion," he said.

Team bus driver averts major mishap

LAHORE: Bus driver of the Sri Lankan cricket team Mehar Khalil has said that attackers threw a hand-grenade toward the bus but it did not go off.
Talking to media, driver Khalil said that while taking a turn through Liberty Chowk, unknown gunmen sprayed bullets on the bus. "However, I managed to gear up the bus to take it away from the spot", said Khalil.
Khalil said an attacker threw a hand-grenade but it could not go off.
He told the two Sri Lankan players in the bus received bullets and they were rushed to the hospital.

India slams 'inadequate' Pakistan after Lahore attack

NEW DELHI: India denounced "hopelessly inadequate" Pakistani security after Tuesday's attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and cited Islamabad's failure to crush militant groups on its soil.
"The security for the Sri Lankan cricket team was hopelessly inadequate," Home Minister P. Chidambaram said as he condemned the assault by gunmen that left eight people dead and wounded seven team members.
Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters. "Unless infrastructure and facilities available to terrorist organisations within Pakistan or territory under its control are completely dismantled... repetition of these incidents will take place," he said.
New Delhi has been pressuring Islamabad to crack down on Islamist militant groups and dismantle their training camps since the Mumbai attacks last November.
The Sri Lankan team was only in Pakistan because a tour by the Indian team had been cancelled in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. "It was not a pleasant decision (to cancel) but we were constrained to take it because the security situation in Pakistan was not safe," Mukerjee said, calling on Islamabad to "take strict measures" against those responsible. "This menace, which is the biggest menace... in the post Cold War era, should be tackled," he said
Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash also piled pressure on Islamabad, saying Pakistan-based "terrorists" were a threat to the entire world. "It is in Pakistan's own interest to take prompt, meaningful and decisive steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure once and for all," Prakash said.
India's Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said the attack underscored "the enormity of the threat" emerging from Pakistan, while India's governing Congress party branded Pakistan "the epicentre and fountainhead of terror."
"Every country in the world must unite against this scourge by isolating the country and demanding immediate concrete results," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.

Sri Lanka stunned, angered by Lahore shooting

COLOMBO: Cricket obsessed Sri Lanka reeled in shock and anger Tuesday at the attack on its national team as it toured Pakistan in place of an Indian squad that had backed out because of security worries.
President Mahinda Rajapakse condemned the attack and ordered Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama to fly to Pakistan to oversee the evacuation of the Sri Lankan players -- seven of whom were wounded when gunmen fired on the team's bus in Lahore.
Seven Sri Lankan players, including skipper Mahela Jayawardene, were hurt, along with an assistant coach. The Sri Lankan team was in Pakistan in place of the Indian team, which had pulled out of a scheduled tour following the November attacks in Mumbai. Sri Lankan officials declined to speculate on who may have been behind the attack, amid suggestions that its own rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may have been involved. "We are uncertain as to who perpetrated this attack," Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told.
"I have heard the LTTE mentioned on the airwaves. There is considerable speculation, but we will await the outcome of the investigation before we comment," he said. "We are reassured that Pakistan authorities are conducting a probe to arrest the assailants and bring them to justice," he added. The Sri Lankan military is on the verge of crushing the LTTE, which has been fighting a long-standing insurgency for an independent Tamil homeland in the northeast of the island.
In Sri Lanka, the sense of shock at the shootings was felt by cricket officials and fans alike. Airline executive Lalith Fernando was dismayed that any group would target international sporting teams trying to help Pakistan improve its image. "Pakistanis are cricket-crazy like us Sri Lankans. The terrorist attack only harms Pakistan more. It's a shame," Fernando said.
Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Duleep Mendis said families of the players had been informed about the incident and moves were under way to fly the team home immediately. "They (the players) are shaken, their families are worried too. But we are doing our best to get everybody home, perhaps tonight," Mendis said.
Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge insisted that the safety of the players had been given all the necessary consideration before the tour began. "The team was provided with heavy security and I was happy with the preparations the Pakistani officials had taken before we undertook the Test tour," Lokuge said. He condemned what he described as "an isolated terrorist attack."
Graeme Labrooy, head of the Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association said the shooting was bound to deter other Test-playing nations from touring Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
"Other countries will think twice before touring here or Pakistan, because of the terrorism problem," Labrooy said.
Up to 12 gunmen attacked the team's convoy near the Gaddafi stadium with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons, triggering a 25-minute gun-fight with security forces.

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