KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Heavily armed police wearing body armor stormed a suspected al-Qaida hide-out Wednesday, killing two gunmen and capturing at least five others in a three-hour shooting battle, police said.
Five officers -- three policemen and two intelligence agents -- were wounded, two of them critically, police said. The federal Interior Ministry in Islamabad said all the gunmen were foreigners but did not say from what country. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the gunmen were Arabs and Afghans.
Many al-Qaida fugitives are believed to have taken refuge in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, after the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The city has been a hotbed of sectarian violence and militant groups targeting foreigners.
A police official said a laptop and "literature" were found in the apartment and that the gunmen were suspected to be linked to al-Qaida. Police initially said a child was killed in Wednesday cross fire but later issued a statement saying "that appeared to be incorrect."
The intelligence officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police raided the apartment, located in a five-story building in an upscale neighborhood, after receiving a tip that "suspicious people were living there."
Police chief Kamal Shah said two of the gunmen were arrested inside the apartment. Others fled to the roof, where they battled police for three hours before they were killed or captured.
The gunmen were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, submachine guns and grenades -- a heavier arsenal than is usually carried by ordinary Karachi criminals.
But Shah refused to say anything about their identity. "I'm not saying that they were ordinary criminals, but I have to take stock of the situation," he told reporters shortly after the siege ended.
The intelligence official at the scene said one of the gunmen scrawled "There is no God but Allah" in Arabic in his own blood on the tiles of the kitchen wall.
While the shooting was still under way, police brought one woman and her young child, both in tears, to safety. "I don't know how many more are inside," she told an Associated Press reporter as she was quickly led away.
As the gunmen held out on the roof, police commandos in body armor and helmets entered the building and slowly worked their way to the upper floors. Police, firing on the gunmen from the roofs of neighboring buildings, called on them to surrender. The gunmen responded with chants of "Allahu Akbar," or God is Great.
Within minutes, a burly, curly haired man was brought out with his entire face covered by a blindfold. Hundreds of policemen fired off volleys of gunfire to celebrate his capture. The final gunman was captured shortly afterward.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.