Sri Lanka Cricket Team Attack: Police Hunt Gunmen
Pakistani police are hunting the gunmen who attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in the city of Lahore.
A convoy carrying the cricketers was attacked by unidentified gunmen near the cricket stadium, killing six policemen and a driver. Seven cricket players and an assistant coach were wounded in the attack.
The team were on their way to play a Test match against Pakistan at the Gaddafi stadium.
There is no word on the identities or motives of the gunmen, who escaped. No arrests have been made so far.
However officials said the incident bore similarities to deadly attacks in Mumbai in India last November.
The Mumbai bombings were blamed on Pakistan-based Islamic militants.
Officials said about 12 gunmen were involved in Tuesday's attack on the Liberty Square roundabout in the heart of Lahore.
Those wounded in the attack were:
- Thilan Samaraweera
- Tharanga Paranavitana
- Mahela Jayawardene
- Kumar Sangakkara
- Ajantha Mendis
- Suranga Lakmal
- Chaminda Vaas
- Paul Farbrace, assistant coach
The cricketers are set to return home to Colombo on Wednesday morning.
"A special chartered Sri Lankan Airlines plane has left Colombo to bring the players back," Sri Lankan cricket sources said.
The plane is expected to land in Lahore late this evening and would take off with the players early tomorrow, the sources, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.
The coach of the Pakistan cricket team, Intikhab Alam, said they escaped the attack by a few minutes only because they were late.
"We usually leave the hotel early on the first day because of the toss, and on the second and third day we leave the hotel a bit late, so captain Younus Khan decided to leave at 8.35am but the Sri Lankan team left five minutes before us."
Alam said that when he and his players arrived near the scene security officials stopped them and advised them to return.
"There was firing at the roundabout and we had to turn around and go back to the hotel," said Alam, a former captain.
Younus Khan and other members of the squad went to the airport to comfort their opponents, he said.
The International Cricket Council said it planned to review plans for Pakistan to co-host the World Cup in 2011 in light of the attack.
The International Cricket Council said Tuesday that national teams would be reluctant to play in Pakistan in the foreseeable future.
«On many occasions we has been told that cricketers would never be targeted in Pakistan,» ICC chairman David Morgan said. «This morning's events have proved that to be quite incorrect.»
A number of attacks in South Asia have caused cricket tours to be postponed or cancelled over the years. Here is a list of attacks in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka since 1992.