Three soldiers of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) lost their lives in an exchange of fire with suspected militants in Dera Ghazi Khan on Friday morning, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

ISPR said "9-10 hardcore terrorists" affiliated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed during the joint security operation launched by Rangers, intelligence agencies and Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel near Choti Zareen area of Punjab's Dera Ghazi Khan district.

The suspected militants and their facilitators were holed up in a hideout in Basti Dadwani near Choti Zareen, 15 kilometres south of DG Khan when the raid was launched.

The ensuing exchange of fire killed at least nine militants including Muhammad Asghar Dadwani alias Ustad Gorchani and Muhammad Naeem alias Waqas Dadwani, ISPR said.

The Punjab Rangers personnel slain in the shootout were identified as Havaldar Asif, Sepoy Aftab and Sepoy Azizullah.

Two soldiers who sustained injuries were airlifted to Combined Military Hospital Multan by an army helicopter.

"The operation is still continuing to flush the area of terrorists who were involved in heinous crimes, ransom and terrorist activities," the military's media wing said.

The raid is a part of ongoing Operation Raddul Fasaad, which the army launched in February following a spate of terror attacks in the country, which claimed more than a hundred lives and left hundreds others injured.

The operation seeks to eliminate the "residual/latent threat of terrorism", consolidating the gains made in other military operations, and further ensuring the security of Pakistan's borders.

Hundreds of suspected terrorists have reportedly either been killed or arrested in raids carried out by security personnel since the start of the operation.

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