By Mubasher Bukhari
LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least four gunmen attacked a hospital in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Tuesday morning, killing up to a dozen people and holding several hostage before escaping, a senior doctor told Reuters.
"They barged into the hospital building and opened indiscriminate fire," said Javed Ikram, Chief Executive of Jinnah hospital.
He said at least 12 people were killed in the firing while some had been held hostage. However, other accounts put the number dead at five.
Senior city government official Sajjad Bhutta told Reuters, "They were four gunmen clad in elite police uniform, and entered the hospital building and opened fire. Then they ran toward the intensive care unit where their companion was being treated."
Police guards fired back, he said, and they fled. One of them was wounded.
The five dead included three policemen, a woman and a private security guard, he said.
Dozens of people wounded in Friday's attacks on two mosques of a minority religious community in the city were being treated in the hospital, which is a major institution in the city. More than 80 people were killed in those attacks.
The attackers were either trying to rescue or kill a wounded attacker from Friday's assault who was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit of Jinnah Hospital, said Punjab police chief Tariq Saleem Dogar.
A Reuters reporter saw the bodies of four policemen.
"There are blood patches at the entrance of the hospital building," a Reuters reporter said. "Pillows, biscuits and other food stuff and shoes are strewn on the floor."
People and patients who were able ran from the hospital and television footage showed exhausted looking women climbing over security fences to escape.
The attackers themselves fled after the mayhem, officials said.
"They escaped from the scene," Lahore commissioner Khusro Pervez Khan told Reuters. "We are in hot pursuit. We are chasing them. One of them was wounded."
A witness told Reuters that a police commando team had stormed into the hospital.
(Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari in Lahore, and Kamran Haider and Zeeshan Haider in Islamabad; Editing by Jon Boyle and Chris Allbritton)