LAHORE: People gather at the site after a raid by CTD and police in an area on Raiwind Road. Five alleged militants were killed in the operation.—Online
LAHORE: People gather at the site after a raid by CTD and police in an area on Raiwind Road. Five alleged militants were killed in the operation.—Online

LAHORE: Security agencies, with the help of Punjab police, extended search operations from main districts to small towns of the province on Wednesday and detained 190 suspects for interrogation out of the 7,618 picked up over the past two days.

Sources said 58 search operations were conducted jointly by the army, Rangers and other agencies on intelligence-based information whereas Punjab police conducted 104 operations.

A Punjab police spokesman said 61 suspects were arrested from Faisalabad, 39 from Lahore, 33 from Gujra­nwala, 37 from Sargodha, 24 from Bahawalpur, 21 from Dera Ghazi Khan and four from Multan region.

The Crime Investigation Agency claimed killing five “high-profile terrorists” in an encounter in Lahore early on Wednesday.

Lahore CCPO retired Capt Amin Wains told Dawn that the five terrorists were members of a banned militant outfit, Al Qaeda (Afzaal Group).

They were suspected of having been involved in several terror activities, including a missile strike on the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, and attacks on army officers in Peshawar; an army camp in Gujrat; Ahmadis in Garhi Shahu, Lahore; Police Training Centre, Farooqabad (Sheikhupura district); a suicide attack in Model Town, Lahore; and cracker attacks at several juice corners and food outlets in Lahore.

The CCPO said they had also kidnapped a relative of senior army officer Gen Tariq Majeed for Rs10 million ransom, an American citizen for Rs300m ransom and two foreigners in Multan.

He said deceased terrorists — Qari Saqib and Junaid Zahoor — had jointly carried a head money of Rs1.5m announced by the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa government. Others were identified as Khan Wahid, Nasir Iqbal and Nadeem Iqbal.

The CCPO said the CIA carried out the raid on information about the presence of the terrorists at a hideout near LDA Avenue Scheme.

As soon as CIA teams surrounded the hideout, the armed men opened fire at them. Policemen retaliated and after an exchange of fire for a few hours, CIA teams found all terrorists dead. A cache of sophisticated weapons, including hand-grenades, Kalashnikovs and detonators, were recovered from the place.

The suspects were being interrogated by officials of security agencies, a senior police official told Dawn.

He said the army, Rangers and other security agencies had carried out 23 operations in Gujranwala, six each in D.G. Khan, Faisalabad and Multan, three each in Bahawalpur, Sheikhupura and Rawalpindi and two in Sargodha district.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2016

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