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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Mosque survivor 'willing to die'
Battle-damaged Red Mosque - 12/07/2007
Clerics and students wanted strict Sharia law enforced in the capital
A female survivor of this month's violent storming by Pakistani forces of Islamabad's Red Mosque has spoken of how she wanted to be a suicide bomber.

The 18-year-old told the BBC Urdu Service that she was not held hostage by militants but had willingly remained behind during the week-long siege.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was prepared to carry out a suicide attack to defend the mosque.

More than 100 people, including militants and troops, died in the raid.

Soldiers stormed the Red Mosque with its adjacent Islamic school after its clerics and students waged an increasingly aggressive campaign to enforce strict Sharia law in Pakistan's capital.

'Overcome by grief'

The survivor said that not only was she inside the mosque of her own will, but she had also been willing to carry out a suicide attack against the government forces outside.

Those who left were either minors or they were forced to leave by their parents
Female siege survivor

She could not go through with her plan, she said, because there were not any explosives for her to use. She added that other women in the mosque were also willing to die.

"We wanted to carry out suicide attacks. We didn't have enough ammunition to fight face-to-face... Yes, we had a passion and we were willing to go to all lengths."

She said: "Very few girls left because they were afraid - those who left were either minors or they were forced to leave by their parents."

One of 30 women who walked out alive after soldiers went into the mosque, she said her greatest regret was that she had not embraced martyrdom, adding that she was "overcome by grief" when she saw her father again.

She said her ambition now was to set up a new radical seminary that would be dedicated to teaching jihad, or holy war, in Pakistan.


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