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Mar 03,2009
Sri Lankan cricket team returning home
by UPI

LAHORE, Pakistan - At least seven people, including six police officers, died during an attack Tuesday on the Sri Lankan soccer team in Pakistan for a competition.

Lahore police said the officers and the driver of another van in the team's convoy were killed and another 20 people were injured, including six members of the Sri Lankan team, in the attack, Dawn reported. An investigator told the newspaper several people suspected to be tied to the assault were being held by police.

Police said at least a dozen gunmen -- armed with rocket launchers, hand grenades and automatic weapons -- assaulted the team as it approached the stadium for the third day's play of the final Test, Dawn reported. Officials said they recovered a cache of weapons.

The attackers fled the scene after the ambush, officials said. Police said some of the evidence indicated the attack could have been a kidnap attempt on the players.

Speaking in Colombo, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said the attack would not affect Sri Lanka's relations with Pakistan, the Lanka Page reported. The team was returning home.

"Terrorism is terrorism and almost the entire region in South Asia has experienced it," he said.

The U.S. State Department condemned the assault.

"This is not just an attack on individuals," said spokesman Gordon Duguid. "This is an attack on peaceful, normal relations, and we utterly condemn this terrorist attack."

"Obviously, we are very deeply concerned," U.S. President Barack Obama said during a media availability with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "The details are still coming in, so I do not want to be too specific."

The International Cricket Council said in a statement that Pakistan won't host any games in the 2011 World Cup.

© 2009 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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