SHAHID RAO and ISRAR AHMED RAWALPINDI - In a decisive and fierce commando action, the Special Services Group (SSG) personnel on Sunday morning killed four terrorists and arrested an injured terrorist Aqeel alias Dr Usman, the mastermind of the terrorist assault on Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The SSG commandos also succeeded in recovering 39 hostages from security office near gate 2 of Pakistan Armys General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi. The security officials told TheNation that during the battle, two SSG commandoes embraced martyrdom while two others were injured. They further informed that three hostages were also martyred while five others (hostages) were maimed due to firing of the terrorists during this rescue operation of SSG commandos. Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Athar Abbas also confirmed the casualties saying that two SSG commandos and three hostages embraced martyrdom while two SSG commandos and five other hostages received injuries. The spokesman of the Pakistan Armed Forces further stated that there were 42 persons including many civilians who were held hostage by the five terrorists armed with lethal weapons and bombs. One terrorist was wearing an explosives jacket, he added. According to details, the rescue operation was started at 6:00am which culminated at 8:45am with the release of 39 hostages safely.The SSG commandos including snipers took part in the rescue operation. At the beginning of the operation the snipers gunned down the terrorist, who reportedly was wearing a suicide jacket and was present among the 22 hostages in a room of the security compound outside the GHQ. The snipers shot was so sudden that the terrorist could not avail the chance of blowing himself up. To strike back, the terrorists who were inside the security compound opened fire on SSG commandos resulting in two soldiers embracing Shahadat. The terrorists also killed three hostages during gun battle. After this, SSG commandos killed the terrorists and freed the hostages from their custody. Security officials told that in first attempt, Aqeed alias Dr Usman alias Ijaz managed to avoid his arrest but in second attempt SSG commandos succeeded to nab Aqeel alias Dr Usman. They further said that Aqeel, during resistance, received three bullet injuries two in leg and one in the arm. He was shifted to special ward of Military Hospital (MH) amid tightest security. After providing him with necessary medical treatment, Aqeel was shifted to some unknown places for further investigation. Before his arrest, Dr Usman heaped the caches of ammunition including hand grenades, detonators and land mines and set them on fire due to which a big explosion occurred, which also injured him. After that security forces rounded him up. Those hostages who were killed were working as Naib Qasids and sweepers at security compound outside GHQ, security officials added. After the conclusion of operation, bomb disposal squad and forensic experts accompanied with trained sniffer dogs of Pakistan Army screened the whole area to find any land mines, possibly installed by the terrorists, who invaded on GHQ a day before. After an hour long search the whole area was declared clear and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani visited the operation site at security office gate 2 of GHQ. After operation, all hostages were transported to Trauma Centre of Combined Military Hospital (CMH), where they were given minor medical aid and served with breakfast before going home. During the operation, Pakistan Army Aviations gunship choppers continued low trajectory flights over the security compound for aerial surveillance of operation area. Police, Rescue 1122, Fire brigades and ambulance services were put on high alert outside gate 1 of the GHQ. Police horsemen and armoured vehicles kept patrolling around the Pakistan Army headquarter. All the roads leading towards GHQ were closed for all kinds of traffic by placing barricades and concrete blocks. The ice of silence broke at Sunday 1:00pm in Cantonment area, when authorities concerned opened the Mall Road for public movement after completing clear and search operation. However, GHQ was surrounded by Army officials. It is learnt that master mind of the attack on GHQ, Aqeel alias Dr Usman alias Ijaz was serving as Nursing Assistant in Army Medical Corp (AMC) of Pakistan Army from where he absconded in 2006. In 2007, he prepared a plan to assassinate former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf by hitting his special aircraft with anti-aircraft gun from the vicinity of Banni, Rawalpindi. Then, he managed the attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team at Liberty Square, Lahore and then on Rescue 15 Building in Islamabad. The government of Punjab had fixed the head money of Rs 5 million on alive or dead arrest of Aqeel alias Dr Usman. The investigation team belonging to sensitive departments gathered DNA samples of the dead terrorists to move the process of interrogation in right directions. The photographs of three terrorists including master mind Aqeel alias Dr Usman have also been released by ISPR to media. Earlier, the terrorists clad in Pakistan Army uniform riding a white Suzuki Carry van bearing Army number plate arrived at Gate 1 of GHQ on Saturday and tried to move inside but were stopped by soldiers on duty. On this, the terrorist opened fire indiscriminately towards army officials and hurled hand grenades due to which 6 military officials including two army officers were martyred. In retaliation from Pakistan Army at picket number 2, four terrorists were killed. Agencies add: ISPR DG General Athar Abbas said that intelligence officials were investigating possible links between the sole surviving militant Aqeel and the March attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Militants we arrested in Lahore had told us during interrogation that he masterminded the attack on the Sri Lankan team and provided weapons, said an official. Some hostage takers phone calls were intercepted and they were speaking Punjabi, another security official said. The Rawalpindi attack bore similarities to the March gun-and-grenade attack, which left six policemen and two civilians dead. Abbas said the militant held Sunday had the same name and alias as one of the Lahore attack suspects. The hostages had been shifted to safer places and were in good health conditions while those injured were accordingly removed to CMH, Abbas said. He said the combing and search of security office of General Headquarters, where the militants made hostage to the security personnel was over. He said that there had been no senior officer among the hostages and the majority of hostages comprised army personnel and civilian servants. There has been no claim of responsibility, but military and government officials blamed Taliban-linked militants. The new Taliban leadership have vowed to avenge the death of their commander Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone missile attack in August, and are also keen to deter an assault on their stronghold, analysts say. A total of 19 people were killed in the 24-hour operation.