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Pakistani Police Kill 2, Capture 5 Suspected Militants - 2002-09-11

Police in Pakistan say they have killed two suspected militants and captured five others in a gunfight in the southern city of Karachi.

Witnesses and police officials say the clash erupted after security forces raided a suspected terrorist hideout in Karachi. They say police fired tear gas and thousands of rounds at the mainly unoccupied building before the gunmen finally surrendered.

A top police official, Syed Kamal Shah, told reporters at the scene that the shootout lasted for more than three hours, leaving six policemen wounded. One child was killed in the crossfire.

Mr. Shah says the gunmen were armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades. He refused to disclose their identities, but said "they are not ordinary criminals."

Foreign nationals are said to be among the five detainees. Unnamed officials are quoted as saying the militants are members of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Hundreds al-Qaida fighters are believed to be hiding in Pakistan, after fleeing the American hunt across the border in Afghanistan. The United States blames the terror group for planning last September's attacks on its cities.

Police in Pakistan are on high alert to prevent possible terrorist attacks on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States. Security is extremely tight in Karachi, where three attacks this year have killed dozens of people, including foreigners.

Pakistan's decision to join the U.S. led war against terrorism has angered Islamic militants in the country. Authorities have blamed these forces for a series of attacks against Christians and Western targets in Pakistan.