8 Dead, 5 Cricketers Hurt At Lahore Attack
Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Eight people were killed and five cricketers injured in an armed attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team's bus in Lahore on Tuesday.

Terror struck at the heart of cricket when masked gunmen attacked the bus as it entered the Gaddafi Stadium.

The attack also left six security men and two civilians dead.

Five Sri Lankan cricketers, including captain Mahela Jayawardene and his deputy Kumar Sangakkara, received minor injuries, reported Cricinfo.

"The bus came under attack as we were driving to the stadium, the gunmen targeted the wheels of the bus first and then the bus," Jayawardene told Cricinfo.

"We all dived to the floor to take cover. About five players have been injured and also Paul Farbrace [a member of the support staff], but most of the injuries appear to be minor at this stage and caused by debris."

Ijaz Butt, the PCB chief, said the Test had been called off.

Salman Tasheer, the Punjab governor, said a helicopter will soon evacuate the Sri Lankan players from Gaddafi Stadium and take them to a nearby airbase from where the team will fly back home.

Sri Lanka's sports minister Gamini Lokuge said Farbrace and Samaraweera were hospitalised while the others have been discharged.

"Mahela and the other three had very minor injuries and they have already reached their hotel," Lokuge said.

Pakistan TV had earlier reported that Samaraweera was hit in the chest, though a team member had told Reuters he was hit in the thigh.

Speaking on Geo TV, Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, said: "This is the first time that a cricket team has been seriously targeted... Pakistan's image will be hit and only time will tell how much damage has been done to Pakistan cricket."

"The World Cup too might be affected... no country would want to come now to Pakistan... I am worried where Pakistan will get a chance to play, not only in Pakistan but outside as well. This is all so sad."

The reserve umpire Ahsan Raza was also injured in the attack. Nadeem Ghauri, the TV umpire, who was travelling in a bus behind the Sri Lanka team bus said the firing continued for some time. Umpire Steve Davis, who was on the team bus, called the terrorist attack "terrible". "I'm lost for words," he said.

Speaking from Sri Lanka, Sanath Jayasuriya said that it was an "extremely unfortunate incident.

"We've never had this kind of problem," Jayasuriya told CNN-IBN.

"They are all safe, that's the good news I got when I spoke to Kumar."

Source: bdnews24.com

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