KARACHI: A suspected militant was shot dead and his five accomplices were taken into custody following a pre-dawn police raid on their hideout that turned into a deadly gunfight in Shah Latif Town on Monday, officials said.

They claimed that the city was saved from a major terrorist attack as the suspects were planning to attack key installations including the Sindh Assembly building in the metropolis.

The Counter Terrorism Department claimed to have busted a terrorists’ sleeper cell in the intelligence-based operation and recovered an explosives-laden rickshaw, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), assault rifles, hand grenades and ammunition.

The officials said a heavy contingent of police cordoned off the area and narrowed in towards their target when they came under heavy gunfire from a two-storey house.

Raja Umar Khattab of the CTD said the militants were heavily armed and trained. “We were well prepared for the reaction and responded effectively. The encounter lasted quite long.”

After the guns fell silent, the CTD officials moved in and arrested five out of six militants as one of them died during the exchange of gunfire.

Foreigners among held suspects: DIG

“We have recovered an explosives-laden rickshaw from the hideout,” said DIG CTD Omar Shahid Hamid, who led the operation. “The militants got the house [on rent] and as per the rental agreement, the suspects were here in the city for more than two weeks.”

The operation received applause from the government and in the afternoon top officials of the Sindh police and the provincial government gathered at the Garden headquarters to share more details.

“The terrorists were actually planning to attack key areas in the city and the Sindh Assembly building was part of their plan,” said Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who was accompanied by Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar and DIG Hamid.

“We cannot share all details right now as investigations are going on, but it’s quite clear that these terrorists were supported by Afghanistan and Indian intelligence agency RAW,” he said. He said considering the level of preparation with so much weaponry and equipment it appeared that the Sindh police and intelligence agencies had averted a major terrorism incident.

DIG Hamid said foreigners were present among the arrested suspects. He said the explosives-laden rickshaw was defused by the bomb disposal squad. “We have also recovered heavy arms, explosives and suicide jackets in the operation.”

He said the National Counter Terrorism Authority had recently issued an alert expressing fears of a major terrorist attack in the city.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2021

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