Eight militants were killed in an anti-terror ‘combing operation’ in the Southern Punjab last night, a counter-terror official said.
A team of the Punjab counter-terrorism department raided the hideout of a banned outfit in a tribal area of Dera Ghazi Khan district, where militants opened fired on the security personnel with assault rifles and hand grenades. The officers responded with full force.
“When the fire was stopped, eight bodies were recovered from the hideout. A few of them fled during the crossfire which continued for a considerable time,” the official said, who wished not to be named. The CTD officials also seized three hand grenades and a huge quantity of firearms from the scene.
According to officials, the terrorists were planning to attack some sensitive installations as they were killed in the combing operation. The CTD had launched the operation in Tomiwala tribal village near Sakhi Sarwar on a tip-off. Three militants, however, managed to escape from the scene. “The process to ascertain identity of the dead is underway,” an official said but did not share any further details.
Following the shootout, the law enforcement agencies sealed off the border districts and launched a major manhunt. The provincial police also intensified snap-checking at the entry and exit points of the Southern Punjab districts.
The militants are said to be members of a banned organization. The bodies were moved to the district hospital. “This was an intelligence-based operation jointly carried out by police commandos and counter-terror officials,” another source said.
The counter-terror operation comes just a day after hundreds of Ashura processions ended peacefully throughout the Punjab province. Security and law enforcement agencies were put on high alert to protect mourners amid militant threats.
The latest combing operation follows arrests of four members of the self-styled Islamic State group, who were caught during a successful operation near the Multan Railways Station, last month.
Eight hand grenades, maps, and some pictures of IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi were also recovered from them. Reportedly, they were affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and Daesh, the Middle East-based group which controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
The Multan raid came weeks after the security and law enforcement agencies arrested another four members of the terror-outfit during an operation in Ya-Rasool-Ullah Park near Moon Market in Lahore’s Iqbal Town.
A spokesman for the Punjab CTD had stated that the raid in Multan city was conducted shortly after the department received “credible and actionable intelligence” from some secret sources.