Explosions and Gunfire at Al-Qaeda Linked Red Mosque

Fighting continued on Thursday at the Red Mosque after leader Maulana Abdul Aziz was caught fleeing the mosque in a burqa.


An image taken from the Pakistan Television shows on Thursday, July 5, 2007, the chief cleric of radical Lal mosque Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was arrested by police, Wednesday in Islamabad, Pakistan, removing his veil. The chief cleric of a radical mosque was arrested and more than 1,000 of his followers surrendered Wednesday as troops backed by armored vehicles and helicopters tightened their siege of the complex, officials said. Female police officers searching women fleeing the mosque’s seminary discovered Maulana Abdul Aziz under a black head-to-toe veil, said Khalid Pervez, the city’s top administrator. (AP Photo/PTV)

Sugiero has video of Abdul Aziz’s walk of shame clad in a burqa!

Another photo of the brave Red Mosque leader Maulana Abdul Aziz being taken away by authorities after he was captured in a burqa fleeing the mosque with female students.

A TV grab shows the chief of Red Mosque Maulana Abdul Aziz who was arrested by police while fleeing in a ‘burqa’ in Islamabad. (Arab News)

Michael Ledeen has more on this veiled practice.

The Red Mosque has known ties to Islamic radicals and it is believed the school was teaching militants about suicide bombing:

The brothers, Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi, embarked on an apparent collision course with the government six months ago when their burqa-clad students started a Taliban-style anti-vice campaign.

Animosity reached fever pitch last month when the students abducted six Chinese women from an acupuncture clinic, claiming it was a brothel. And the long-predicted violence erupted on Tuesday in clashes with security forces that have so far left 16 people dead.

The mosque says it has about 5,000 male and 4,000 female students, ranging in ages from early teens to mid 20s. Most are from conservative northwestern Pakistan and the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

But security sources said Taliban militants were using the sprawling compound to hide in, as were sectarian “jihadis”, or holy warriors, belonging to banned Pakistani militants groups.

“We had intelligence for some time now that militants were trained as suicide bombers at this complex, having a nexus with Taliban rebels hiding in our tribal areas”, said a senior security official.

Several Taliban commanders lodged at the mosque during trips to the capital, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Officials also said some lower-level Taliban commanders were inside the compound as it was besieged on Wednesday, although this could not be confirmed.

Chief cleric of the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque Maulana Abdul Aziz is seen in Islamabad Thursday, July 5, 2007 in this image made from TV. The captured leader of the radical mosque conceded Thursday that the nearly 1,000 followers still inside the government-besieged complex will not be able to hold out for much longer, indicating the standoff would end without violence. (AP Photo/Pakistan Televison)

The leader of the compound urged the students to give up today after being caught in a burqa outside the school.

Pakistani religious students smash the glass of a car near the environment ministry outside the Red mosque in Islamabad July 3, 2007. At least six people, including a paramilitary trooper and a television cameraman, were killed in gunfire during clashes with militant students at the mosque run by a Taliban-style movement in Islamabad on Tuesday, officials said. (REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood)

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