ISLAMABAD - Abdul Rashid Ghazi, deputy chief of Lal Masjid mosque claimed Sunday that 335 religious students were killed in the overnight operation launched by the Pakistani army on Saturday, local TV channel reported.
Pakistani soldiers repair their bunker near Lal Masjid, or the Red Mosque, during a break in curfew in Islamabad July 7, 2007. [Reuters]
Rashid said that 310 female and 25 male students were killed in overnight army bombing of the compound of Las Masjid located in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
There was no official confirmation of Rashid's claim.
The bombing was expected to blow up sections of the walls and make holes in the compound so that the students who had been taken hostages could escape, an army spokesman said.
The five-day heaviest firing and explosions continued late Saturday night and the security forces made advancement towards Lal Masjid, Jamia Hafsa.
15 armored vehicles advanced from the rear side of the besieged building and opened fire, and the electricity of the areas near Lal Masjid was cut off.