Pakistani bus hostages freed unharmed

About two dozen gunmen held 35 passengers on a city bus for two hours on a main road in eastern Pakistan today, sparking a shootout with police that left one of the hostage-takers dead and two wounded.

About two dozen gunmen held 35 passengers on a city bus for two hours on a main road in eastern Pakistan today, sparking a shootout with police that left one of the hostage-takers dead and two wounded.

The passengers were freed safely, police said.

The hostage situation began this afternoon after 25 bearded men held up the bus in Faisalabad, an industrial city about 150 miles west of Lahore, said Mohammed Amin, the police chief in the area.

He said: “The criminals were claiming that one of them is the messenger of God.”

He added they had surfaced to eradicate evils from the society. “We asked them to surrender, but they opened fire,” he said.

Police also returned fire, killing one of them while other hostage takers were arrested.

“No passengers were hurt in the entire operation,” he said.

Amin said the men were being questioned at a police station in Faisalabad. One of them claimed to have been sent by God to warn that the day of judgment was approaching, said Amin.

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