UPDATE – Hundreds of soldiers surrounding the Red Mosque in Islamabadand are preparing to storm the mosque after a standoff thathas lasted since the mosque was isolated by troops lastTuesday. Since then, at least 21 people have been killed inthe siege, which started when members of the radical mosquekidnapped seven Chinese whom they accused of running abrothel. There are believed to be 1,800 people in themosque, led by Abdul Rashid Ghazi. He has said that hisfollowers will commit suicide rather than allow themselvesto be captured, and expressed the hope that their deathswould spark an Islamic revolution in relatively secularPakistan. Keep reading for an update on this story.
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Four pro-Taliban, anti-U.S. demonstrators who were blocking a railway line have been shot dead by police in Pakistan. The group blocked the railway line with rocks, preventing a train from leaving. They also took three policemen as hostages, but later released them.

The police first used tear gas against them, and when the protesters responded by throwing stones, they opened fire. At least six other people were injured. In another town, police fired teargas at a crowd of protesters and elsewhere they rounded up demonstrators who were trying to block a main road.
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Pakistan closed its airspace this morning, except for authorized flights. Islamabad has announced that any aircraft entering Pakistani airspace without permission will be shot down. Incomiong international flights have been given permission to land at Karachi airport. Karachi, Nawabshah, Rahim Yar Khan, Lahore and Islamabad airports have been kept open for domestic flights to land.

For the Balochistan Express story, click here.
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