Islamabad siege mosque to reopen

Islamabad's Red Mosque, where a siege against Islamic militants ended in bloodshed two weeks ago when Pakistani troops stormed in, will reopen tomorrow with a new coat of paint - in pale yellow.

Islamabad's Red Mosque, where a siege against Islamic militants ended in bloodshed two weeks ago, will reopen tomorrow with a new coat of paint - in pale yellow.

Minister for Religious Affairs Ijazul Haq today led journalists on a tour through the mosque to see the repairs and to announce that worshippers would be allowed to return tomorrow for the first time since the siege began early this month.

The corrugated iron roof that was blasted by explosions during the fighting with Pakistani troops has been replaced, and bullet-scarred walls patched and painted.

The rooftop minarets gleamed bright white and the main prayer hall smelled of fresh paint.

Outside, remnants of the destruction were still apparent, with dozens of police and paramilitary officers on patrol, and barbed wire encircling part of the complex that included a seminary for girls.

The seminary was badly damaged in the assault and has since been demolished, with piles of concrete and mangled steel all that remained today.

Cranes and dump trucks worked at moving away the rubble.

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