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Pakistan identifies attackers

A PAKISTANI opposition leader declared yesterday that the bloody ambush of the Sri Lankan cricket team shows security in Pakistan has "collapsed" while a government official said authorities had identified the attackers.

The country's cricket chief, meanwhile, dismissed as "totally fabricated" claims by English match referee Chris Broad that police abandoned him and other officials during Tuesday's attack.

Six police officers and a driver were killed and seven players, an umpire and an assistant coach were hurt in the ambush in Lahore, which occurred despite government pledges to give the convoy the same level of protection afforded a head of state in the country wracked by militancy.

Days before the attack, Pakistan's government dismissed the opposition-led regional administration based in Lahore as part of a bitter political dispute.

Several people have alleged that chaos resulting from that decision could have been a factor in the security lapses.

Lahore commissioner KhusroPervez said the gunmen should have been battled by "back-up police support which didn't arrive."

None of the attackers is believed to be in custody by yesterday.

But Punjab Governor Salman Taseer said investigators had found a large number of weapons, made some arrests and identified the culprits but would not give further details.

Taseer said authorities "have identified the people who have done this operation."

"But at this time I don't want to say anything which may create any difficulty," he said.

He added that he would give more details in coming days.

Islamic militants are widely suspected but authorities have not explicitly said that.


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