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3 hostages killed, 22 freed in Pakistan army HQ

THREE hostages were killed and 22 others have been freed from the Pakistan army headquarters as the security forces' mop-up operation enter final phase, Pakistani army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said this morning.

Abbas said most of the hostages including a few injured are out and the security forces are inside the building where four to five militants were holding more than 20 security men and civilians near the army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital of Islamabad.

The security forces killed four militants inside the building including a suicide bomber, who was shot dead before he exploded himself, said the military spokesman.

The operation to rescue the hostages started at 6:00 am local time (0000 GMT) and the clearance operation is still underway, Abbas said.

Earlier this morning, three loud explosions and gunshots have been heard near the army headquarters.

Armed militants have held the security men and civilians as hostages at the army headquarters last night and the army commandos have surrounded the militants, the army spokesman said.

At least six Pakistani soldiers and four suspected militants were killed in a gun battle near the heavily-guarded army headquarters yesterday afternoon.


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