A day after Pakistan vowed to take pre-emptive measures to avert terrorist attacks, security forces killed 11 militants, including a key commander of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, in a raid in South Waziristan, while two separate attacks targeting police in Lakki Marwat and Dera Ismail Khan left five officials injured.
In an intelligence-based operation in Wana, the security forces raided a hideout of TTP militants and killed at least 11 terrorists, including TTP commander Hafizullah alongside two would-be suicide bombers, said the military’s media wing.
The operation “foiled a major terrorist activity”, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement issued on Thursday evening.
“During intense exchange of fire, 11 terrorists, including terrorist commander Hafizullah alias Tor Hafiz, and two suicide bombers were killed.
“A huge quantity of weapons and ammunition was also recovered from the killed terrorists,” the military’s media wing said.
It added that the militants had remained “actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces and target killing of police in the district”.
Slain TTP commander
Local officials said that TTP commander Hafizullah had been involved in attacks on police stations in Azam Warsak, Raghzai, and Wana as well as extortion and kidnapping of locals.
The 40-year-old militant, who belonged to Tojay Khel, a Wazir sub-tribe, had joined Uzbeks in Wana before 2007, when Mullah Nazir, a local militant, and local people joined hands against Uzbek militants to force them out of the area.
“Hafizullah stayed quiet for a while but later joined the banned TTP and went to Afghanistan. He returned to Pakistan after Mullah Nazir was killed in a drone attack, local officials said, claiming that the TTP affiliates had gone to Afghanistan but those who belonged to Wana were allowed to return.
Sources said that those who had returned to Pakistan grouped together after some time under Hafizullah’s leadership.
“Hafizullah is believed to have been involved in attacks on security forces after the peace talks between the government and the banned outfit failed,” the sources said.
They added Hafizullah escaped an attack following his return from Afghanistan when some unknown persons opened fire at him, leaving him seriously wounded. After his recovery, he started terrorising the district, they added.
DI Khan and Lakki Marwat attacks
In Lakki Marwat and Dera Ismail Khan districts, militants attacked police in separate incidents, resulting in injuries to at least five policemen.
The attacks, however, were repulsed by police forcing the insurgents to flee the scene.
In DI Khan, a police team deployed for the protection of an anti-polio team came under a gun attack in a remote part of town, resulting in injuries to five officials.
“Unknown militants armed with sophisticated weapons opened indiscriminate firing on the police party assigned to protect a team of the polio workers,” a police official said, adding that condition of all the injured police personnel was satisfactory.
The official said that District Police Officer Muhammad Shoaib Khan along with a heavy contingent of the police immediately rushed to the spot; however, the militants had managed to escape the scene before the police arrived.
“A search operation was launched by the law enforcement agencies in the area [to arrest suspects],” he said. On Wednesday, a similar attack on polio workers left one police guard wounded in the district.
Meanwhile, an attack launched by militants on the Wargarey police station late Thursday night was repulsed by police officials and residents of the area.
Police said that militants attacked the police station located in the Bittani sub-division of erstwhile Fata with heavy weapons. However, local residents and police repulsed the attack, forcing the militants to flee. Police and local fighters remained unhurt in the attack.