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Four killed, 600 arrested during crackdown in Punjab

Updated February 26, 2017

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LAHORE: Four terrorism suspects have been killed and around 600 have been taken into custody during crackdowns jointly conducted by the Counter Terrorism Department of the Punjab Police and the Punjab Rangers in different parts of Layyah and Rawalpindi districts of Punjab.

The law-enforcement agencies also claimed to have seized weapons and banned literature during the crackdowns.

According to a news release issued on Saturday by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the official mouthpiece of the military, the crackdowns were undertaken under the recently launched Raddul Fassad operation by the army.

The news release said: “Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad continues across the country. Punjab Rangers conducted over 200 search operations in various areas of the Punjab including Karor, Layyah and Rawalpindi. Rangers have searched suspicious houses, madrassas and shops in both districts.”

The ISPR claimed that the four suspected terrorists were killed during an exchange of fire with security personnel. It said some Afghan nationals were among the arrested suspects.

Some suspects believed to be facilitators in the recent acts of terrorism in the country are also among the arrested people.

The ISPR said they belonged to the Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which has claimed responsibility for some of the recent terrorist attacks in the country, including the one carried out outside the Punjab Assembly building in Lahore on Feb 13. Fifteen people, including two senior police officers, were killed and over 80 others injured in the attack carried out by a suicide bomber during a protest organised by chemists and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The arrested people have been taken to unspecified locations for interrogation.

A senior police official told Dawn that personnel of the Punjab Rangers and police had conducted an operation in Shiyan Wali village in Karor Lal Esan tehsil of Layyah district during which they had arrested four terrorism suspects and seized a rifle, flags with the insignia of a banned outfit and hate literature.

The Pakistan Army launched the Raddul Fassad operation after a series terror attacks in different parts of the country claimed lives of hundreds of people.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2017