Deadly clash near Pakistan army HQ

Pakistani officials say six soldiers and at least four armed men have been killed after an attack on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi near Islamabad, the country's capital.

The assailants, wielding assault rifles and grenades, staged the attack in the garrison city on Saturday, sparking a 45-minute gun battle.

"The situation is under control ... " Major-General Athar Abbas, the army spokesman, told Geo TV, a Pakistani channel.

Colonel Attique ur Rehman, the army's deputy spokesman, told the AFP news agency by telephone: "Six soldiers were martyred in the attack."

Random firing

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said: "Helicopter gunships are still hovering in the air. They were in the air within minutes. However, the exact number of the perpetrators is not clear.

The army said four of the attackers had been killed. Two others escaped but one of them was later arrested.

Mohammed Jamil, a police official, said the attackers drove up to the army compound in a white van shortly before noon, and tried to force their way inside before being challenged by soldiers.

The attackers jumped out of the vehicle, took up positions throughout the area and began firing at the troops, he said.

One attacker hurled a grenade, and others fired sporadically at those manning the checkpoint at the compound's entrance, a senior military official inside said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Taliban claim

Tehreek-e-Taliban, or the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the latest attack on the military's headquarters, according to Islamabad's local media.

In a telephone call made to a local media channel, a member of the Pakistani Taliban threatened aid groups operating in the country and asked that they leave Pakistan.

he attack came a day after a suspected suicide car bomber killed 49 people in the northwestern city of Peshawar in an attack the government said underscored the need for an all-out offensive.

Pakistan has been fighting an ever-intensifying campaign against al-Qaeda-linked Taliban and groups linked to al-Qaeda. [adm/aljazeera]

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