Lankan players flown to Dubai after attack

Posted on Mar 03, 2009 at 09:41 | Updated Mar 03, 2009 at 17:56 Comment 4 CommentsEmail Email Print Print
Tags: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Test series, Lahore attack, gaddafi stadium

New Delhi: Sri Lankan cricketers were airlifted in a helicopter from the Gaddafi Stadium and flown to Dubai as their tour of Pakistan ended on a dastardly note, when about 12 unidentified gunmen opened fire on the team bus while they were on their way to resume the second Test.

At least six Sri Lankan cricketers were injured in the firing and five police personnel escorting the team were killed on the spot.

Two of the Lankan players were seriously injured. Thilan Samaraweera underwent a surgery to remove a bullet that was lodged in his foot. Tharanga Paranavitana was shot in the chest. However, both players have been declared to be out of danger.

The other players who were injured in the attack were skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Chaminda Vaas and Thilan Thushara, PCB officials were quoted as saying by Dawn News channel.

All the players are now safe and the Lakans will leave for home today, Sri Lankan team manager Brendon Kuruppu told CNN-IBN.

That all the players were safe was also confirmed to CNN-IBN by Sanath Jayasuriya over phone.

This is the first attack since the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where sportspersons have been targetted.

The Lankan team were on their way to the stadium for the third day's play of the second Test match when the gunmen surrounded the bus near the busy Liberty Chowk and opened fire, according to officials. They also lobbed grenades and tried to use a rocket launcher, which luckily did not fire.

The security personnel fought the gunmen for almost 25 minutes, but all the attackers managed to escape. However, some policemen sustained injuries in the firing.

"There were 12 masked gunmen," Lahore police chief Habib-ur Rehman told reporters, adding that police battled against the assailants for about 25 minutes.

"They appeared to be well-trained terrorists. They came on rickshaws. They were armed with rockets, hand grenades, kalashnikovs," he said.

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