5 Qaeda men killed in Gujranwala encounter

LAHORE - Five terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda were killed in a shootout with a team of the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department near Gujranwala by-pass last night, an official said.

Three militants fled during the joint operation involving elite police commandos.

Investigators were yet to ascertain the identities of the dead.

According to CTD, the terrorists were plotting "a major terrorist activity" in Gujranwala.

The shooting comes days after terrorists stormed a police academy in Quetta and killed more than 60 cadets in gun and bomb assault, which lasted for hours.

An off-shoot of the Pakistani Taliban with links to the so-called Islamic state group had asserted responsibility for the barbaric attack which left over 100 others with bullet injuries.

The encounter began late yesterday night as the counter terror operatives launched an operation near Wapda Town by-pass in the limits of Gujranwala Sadar police station. The raid was conducted on an "actionable intelligence" that indicated the presence of militants at a hideout.

"The CTD team raided the place tonight at 10:40pm and ordered the terrorists to surrender. The terrorists started firing indiscriminately on the CTD team. The team defended itself by taking cover. When the fire was stopped, five terrorists were found dead," a spokesperson for the Punjab CTD said. "The five terrorists were killed by firing of their accomplices."

Three terrorists managed to flee during the operation while taking advantage of the darkness, the spokesperson said. The CTD personnel also seized one Kalashnikov rifle, two pistols, one 44 bore gun, two hand grenades and explosive material from the hideout.

Police and counter terror officers launched a manhunt in the nearby fields for the fleeing terrorists.

The law-enforcement agencies late night intensified snap-checking at the entry and exit points of all the Punjab districts.

Security and law-enforcement agencies were on high-alert in the province after the terror group reportedly claimed that the Quetta attack was in revenge of the killings of their members "out of prisons" in the Punjab province.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt