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3 judges killed in Pak prison hostage drama
An ambulance carries the victims of a shootout from a prison in Sialkot, Punjab. (AFP)

Islamabad, July 25 (Agencies): Three kidnapped judges and five prisoners were killed in Pakistan today when police raided a jail to free seven judges taken hostage by the prisoners, police said.

The judges had been taken hostage by armed prisoners while visiting the main jail in Sialkot town in Punjab province. Police said up to three judges were wounded in the gunbattle but all the survivors were freed.

The prisoners, some of whom are serving sentences for kidnapping people for ransom, were demanding their freedom in return for that of the judges, police said.

"Three judges and all five kidnappers have been killed during the operation," Amjad Javed Saleemi, police superintendent in Sialkot, said.

Police said 11 judges had originally been taken hostage but four were freed after an earlier gunbattle with police in which one policeman was wounded.Five people including one policeman and several other persons were also injured in the firing with the prisoners, who had demanded a van, arms and safe passage out of jail, deputy inspector General Malik Mohammad Iqbal said.

The five inmates had attacked the judges while they were inspecting a section of the prison where women are kept and took them hostage in the women's barracks. The kidnappers had earlier demanded a 74-seater bus, five Klashnikov rifles and safe passage from the prison in their negotiations with jail officials.

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