PESHAWAR: A policeman lost his life while two suspected terrorists were killed during an ongoing standoff between security personnel and militants holed up in a house in the posh neighbourhood of Hayatabad on Monday.

City police and KP government officials confirmed that the gun battle that started around 9pm was going on till 12:30am.

The incident took place in the E-5 sector of Phase VII area on the western fringes of the provincial capital, close to the border of the Khyber tribal district.

City police chief Qazi Jamilur Rehman, who was leading the operation, told Dawn that a cop had been martyred, adding that there could be three to four terrorists holed up in the house. He said it was an intelligence-based operation and police were closing in on the house. He clarified that it was not a hostage situation.

A police official at the Tatara police station said that two of the `terrorists’ had been killed in the exchange of fire.

KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai in a statement said that police got intelligence about the presence of terrorists who were involved in the attack on a senior police official and a Peshawar High Court judge in Hayatabad and raided the house. He said as the raid was conducted the terrorists opened fire in which one policeman lost his life.

The minister that army commandos were also taking part in the operation along with the KP police. He said an army soldier was injured in firing by the terrorists. He said police had fired four rocket-propelled grenades on the house.

Mr Yousafzai said that security personnel had entered the house and were clearing the ground floor. However, there was still resistance from the upper storey. He said that as soon as ground floor was cleared, the commandos would move to the second floor.

The martyred cop, identified as ASI Qamar Alam, was affiliated with the Anti-Terrorist Squad. His body was shifted to the Hayatabad Medical Complex.

In 2017, KP police deputy chief Mohammad Ashraf Noor was killed in a suicide attack in the Hayatabad area. Earlier in February, a sitting judge of the Peshawar High Court was injured in a gun attack in the same area.

PHC judge Mohammad Ayub Marwat survived when unidentified assailants sprayed his car with bullets.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019