Pakistan mosque standoff enters fourth day

July 6, 2007 at 8:46 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 6 (UPI) -- Pakistani authorities Friday rejected all demands and insisted on total surrender by the radical Islamic students in a besieged mosque.

The standoff with those inside the Red Mosque in Islamabad entered the fourth day after Tuesday's fierce gun battles in which at least 24 died, CNN reported. In the past two days, more than 1,200 students left the mosque but another 1,000 were believed to be inside.

"There will be no more dialogue," Pakistani Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim was quoted as saying. "It has to be an absolutely total surrender, unconditional total surrender."

The CNN report said there had been demands from those inside that they not be arrested if they surrendered.

Intelligence sources told CNN the students are facing severe water and food shortage. Fifty of them are reported to be well armed.

The top cleric of the students, Maulana Abdul Aziz, was arrested Wednesday as he tried to escape disguised in a traditional woman's burqa. Since then he has asked those inside to end the standoff.

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