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Pakistan Security Forces End Hostage Drama In Peshawar

Pakistani farmers carry belongings from their destroyed houses to tents set on a highway on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Pakistani security forces have stormed a building in Peshawar and freed two hostages who were being held by a pair of escaped militants.

Liaqat Ali Khan, a top police official, said the militants surrendered and that there were no fatalities in the operation.

He said today's drama in Peshawar began when three or four Islamic militant prisoners overpowered two of their guards as they were being moved between compounds, took the guards hostage, and opened fire in an escape attempt.

They were later surrounded in a building where they took cover.

Police had initially said the fighting broke out when a number of insurgents tried to assault a secure area close to the U.S. Consulate and army buildings in Peshawar city, but those reports proved incorrect.

The incident comes days after the threat by the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella organization of over a dozen militant groups, to target Western aid workers helping over 17 million people displaced by the devastating floods.

Fears Of Disease

Meanwhile, the United Nations says it is becoming increasingly worried about the spread of disease and hunger, especially among children, in the wake of the floods in Pakistan.

Senior UNICEF official Karen Allen said in a statement today that "we fear the deadly synergy of waterborne diseases, including diarrhea, dehydration, and malnutrition."

She said the danger was especially great in areas where even before the disaster, acute malnutrition was high.

UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Mogwanja said that "if nothing is done, an estimated 72,000 children, currently affected by severe malnutrition in the flood-affected areas, are at high risk of death."

The floods are Pakistan's worst-ever natural disaster in terms of the amount of damage and the number of people affected.

with agency reports