The Taliban have struck again in the heart of Pakistan's military garrison city of Rawalpindi. A Taliban suicide assault team estimated at between three to five men entered a mosque in the city and opened fire on the worshippers and detonated their vests, killing 40 and wounding 83 more. The attack killed a senior general and wounded another.
Two of the members of the suicide assault team have been killed. The assault team was not interested in taking hostages or negotiations, according to the Pakistani military.
"They exploded bombs inside the mosque," Major General Athar Abbas, the top military spokesman told AFP. "They opened fire on the worshippers... There is no hostage situation. Two terrorists have been killed."
The blasts caused parts of the roof of the mosque to collapse.
The attack took place in a mosque that is used by Army officers on a day when the mosque is sure to be filled; Friday is the Muslim day of prayer.
"There were about 200 or 300 worshippers in the hall," an eyewitness told AFP. "Army officials mostly offer their Friday prayers in this mosque."
Major General Bilal Omar Khan, who had served as the commander of the Pakistani Rangers, and the son of the Peshawar Corps commander were both killed in the attack, according to Samaa. General Mohammad Yousuf, the retired former Vice Chief of Army Staff, was wounded.
The Taliban and allied terror groups have struck at the military and police forces in Pakistan's major cities to counter the ongoing military operations in South Waziristan, Khyber, Arakzai, Kurram, and Swat.
Today's Rawalpindi attack is the latest in a wave of Taliban violence that emerged in the beginning of October. Suicide bombers have struck in Islamabad, Peshawar, Shangla, Kohat, and Charsadda, and assault teams have targeted police in Lahore and Peshawar as well as the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Just two days ago, a suicide bomber detonated outside the gate of the Naval headquarters in Islamabad.
The Oct. 10 assault on Army General Headquarters shut down Pakistan's military command for nearly a day, as hostages were held. The Taliban are reported to have obtained sensitive data from computers and files during that assault.