3 Mar : The Sri Lankan players and officials have been airlifted from the Gaddafi stadium by a Pakistan airforce helicopter to facilitate their return on after they were attacked by terrorists in Lahore earlier in the day.
"The helicopter will take them straight to the Lahore airport from where they will fly home this afternoon," a Pakistan Cricket Board official said.The two injured Sri Lankan players Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana who were hit by gunshots will be taken to the airport straight from the hospital as they are out of danger.
PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt and other Board officials were present at the Gaddafi stadium ground from where the helicopter airlifted the players and officials.Sri Lankan cricket team attacked; tour called off At least 12 terrorists armed with rifles and rocket launchers on Tuesday targeted the touring Sri Lankan cricket team as they were on their way to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, killing five escorting policemen and injuring six players, two of them with bullet wounds.
Immediately after the attack, the Sri Lankan government called off the tour.Among the players injured are Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana, PCB officials said.
While Samaraweera and Paranavitana receive bullet wounds, the others besides the head coach Trevor Bayliss received minor injuries. They are all being treated at a hospital, Sri Lankan officials said.
City police chief Haji Habibur Rehman said one of the players was hit in the leg while the other received a bullet in the chest but their injuries were not life threatening.
"It was a terrorist attack and terrorists used rocket launchers, hand grenades and other weapons," Rehman said, adding a hunt was on to track down the 12 terrorists involved in the shooting.
The Sri Lankan players were on their way to the stadium for the third day’s play of the second Test match when the terrorists fired from different directions at their bus in the busy Liberty chowk located less than a km from the stadium, they said.
"There were 12 masked gunmen….They appeared to be well-trained terrorists. They came in rickshaws. They were armed with rockets, hand grenades and kalashnikovs," Rehman said.
"The firing took place from at least four sides and continued for some minutes," a police official said. The police battled with the terrorists for about 25 minutes, he said.
The attackers later escaped in separate groups.One explosion was also heard at the stadium.Five policemen escorting the players were killed in the shootout while some shots hit the cricket team’s bus, the police chief said, adding several policemen were also injured in the attack.
TV channels aired footage of at least two of the gunmen, one of them wearing salwar kameez and other jeans and a jacket. Both were armed with assault rifles and carrying backpacks.
Police cordoned off the area immediately after the attack and launched a search for the gunmen. The driver of the cricket team’s bus drove away from the spot after the firing started.
"We are assessing the situation," Pakistan cricket board chief Ejaz Butt said.The liaison officer of the Pakistan team said players of the host nation have been sent back to the hotel.Sources claimed that the police had received a threat on Monday that the Sri Lankan team would be attacked so a different route was used to transport the team to the stadium.