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Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Lahore bus driver's dramatic escape

Bus carrying the Sri Lankan team
Gunmen surrounded the bus, driver Khalil Ahmed said

The driver of the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team that was attacked in the Pakistani city of Lahore has given a dramatic account of the assault.

Khalil Ahmed said that he and the players had a "lucky escape" when a rocket and a grenade were fired at his vehicle but caused minimal damage.

Mr Ahmed said that once he realised his coach was under attack, he drove at top speed to escape.

He said it was only by "the grace of God" that he and the players survived.

'Shocked'

"When we left the hotel under police escort I remember thinking how quiet the roads were," Mr Ahmed said in an interview with the BBC Urdu service.

Khalil Ahmed
Mr Ahmed has been hailed a hero by the media

"As we approached the city's Liberty Roundabout, I slowed down. Just then what seemed to be a rocket was fired at my coach, but it missed and I think flew over the top of the vehicle.

"Almost immediately afterwards a person ran in front of the bus and threw a grenade in our direction. But it rolled underneath the coach and did not seem to cause that much damage.

"Soon after that I was aware that the vehicles had come under attack by firearms. I was shocked and stunned."

Mr Ahmed said that it was only after a Sri Lankan official on board the vehicle yelled at him to drive fast that he became "sparked up" and drove off from the scene of the attack "as fast as I dared".

He said he saw several of the gunmen, all aged between 20 and 30, "many sporting beards".

The bus driver, who is now recovering with his family, has already been hailed a hero by the Pakistani press.

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