The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Thursday that intelligence agencies had intercepted communications between the terrorists who carried out attacks in Balochistan a day earlier and their handlers in Afghanistan and India.
Terrorists had attempted to attack security forces' camps in Balochistan's Panjgur and Naushki in two separate attacks late on Wednesday evening. The attacks had been "successfully repulsed" while dealing heavy damage to the terrorists, although one soldier was martyred in the Panjgur incident, the military's media wing had reported.
In an update issued today, the ISPR said that security forces had killed 13 terrorists in the province's Panjgur and Naushki areas.
"After successfully repulsing terrorist attacks at Panjgur and Naushki yesterday night, security forces carried out clearance operation to hunt down terrorists hiding in the area," the statement said.
In Naushki, security forces encountered and killed five more terrorists, bringing the number of total killings to nine, the ISPR said, adding that four soldiers, including an officer, embraced martyrdom while repulsing the attack.
Meanwhile, in Panjgur, four terrorists were killed while at least four to five were "encircled by security forces", the statement said. The ISPR said the operation in Panjgur to eliminate fleeing terrorists "is continuing".
"As per initial investigation, intelligence agencies have intercepted communications between terrorists and their handlers in Afghanistan and India," the statement concluded.
Balochistan minister says there were several threats
Separately, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zia Langove said several threats had been issued this month.
"We had threats from Daesh and so-called nationalists," he said while addressing a press conference in Quetta, adding that several groups were claiming responsibility for the attacks. "We have called a meeting of all departments, including intelligence agencies, after which things will become clearer."
The minister said "some people" brainwash the country's youth and take them towards the path of terrorism.
"They are our youth. They carried out terrorism in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Now, they are coming back to their country and spreading terrorism," he said, adding that the responsibility of such attacks lies with terrorist organisations and their supporters.
He said that the war against terrorism had been ongoing for the last 20 years. The minister said that sometimes terrorists get support from Afghanistan and also highlighted the fact that Pakistan shared a border with Iran.
He said that the through the border management committee, Iranian officials had been conveyed Pakistan's concerns in this regard and had received assurances from the other side.
During his media talk, the minister said that 12 FC personnel had been injured in Naushki while five were martyred. Additionally, 11 were injured in Panjgur and seven were martyred, he said.
When asked why the numbers were different to the ones given by the military, the official said: "The operation in Panjgur is underway and the figures are not final. There could be some discrepancies."
PM Imran pays tribute to "brave" security forces
Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan paid tribute to the "brave" security forces for repulsing the terrorist attacks in Balochistan the previous night as he acknowledged their "great sacrifices".
The prime minister today said: "We salute our brave security forces who repulsed terrorist attacks against security forces' camps in Panjgur and Naushki, Balochistan. The nation stands united behind our security forces who continue to give great sacrifices to protect us."
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif paid tribute to the bravery and courage of the Pakistan Army and the officers who had sacrificed their lives to defend the country.
Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid had provided an update on the number of terrorists killed and the soldiers martyred. In a video message at approximately 11am, he said nine terrorists were killed and four soldiers martyred in Naushki, whereas six terrorists died in the Panjgur attack.
"The terrorists were repulsed from both places and the Pakistan Army kept its tradition [of defeating terrorism] alive. A few — four to five people — are surrounded by them (the army) in Panjgur which the Pakistan Army will defeat. This is a great success that the Pakistan Army has achieved against terrorism."
The interior minister paid tribute to the security forces and said they were fully capable of fighting against any kind of terrorism.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo also praised security forces for thwarting the attacks, saying: "Terrorists cannot intimidate our brave security forces with cowardly attacks. Our security forces are making history."
"Terrorists should remember that their competition is with the best army in the world which will defeat them on all fronts," the chief minister said, adding that their sacrifices were a source of pride for the nation, which stood beside them.
He also extended his condolences and sympathies to the family of the martyred soldier.
Last night's attacks were claimed by the banned Baloch Liberation Army. The incidents are the latest in a string of attacks in Balochistan and come a week after ten soldiers were martyred in a terrorist attack on a security forces' checkpost in the province's Kech district.
According to the ISPR, the "fire raid" by terrorists in Kech had occurred on the night of Jan 25-26.
"During intense exchange of fire, one terrorist was killed and several injured. While repulsing terrorists' fire raid, 10 soldiers embraced martyrdom," the statement had said.
Two days after the attack, three Levies Force personnel along with a Bugti clan elder were martyred and eight others injured in twin bomb blasts in the Sui area of Dera Bugti.
On Jan 30, 17 people, including two policemen, were injured in a grenade attack in Dera Allahyar town of Jaffarabad district.
Additional reporting by Ghalib Nihad.