NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Seven militants of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pak­­istan (TTP) were killed when cops repulsed an attack on a police van carrying three detained militants to Bannu from North Waziristan, the Cou­n­t­er­terrorism Department (CTD) said on Tuesday.

The three detained militants were also among those killed in the Monday night clash, the CTD said.

The CTD said its officials were shifting the three militants from Mira­m­shah to Bannu when they were ambushed on the Mir Ali Bypass Road, possibly by the militants’ accomplices to free them from custody.

The police officials reta­l­i­a­ted, killing four assailants, while five militants managed to escape under cover of dar­k­ness. The CTD said the detainees inside the van had been killed due to the assailants’ fire. The excha­nge of fire severely damaged some police vehicles.

Six militants killed in the attack were identified as Mehruddin, Abadur Rehman, Arshaad Ullah, Noor Qabil, Ashraf Ullah and Rifat Ullah. The identity of one attacker could not be immediately ascertained.

The militants, which according to the CTD were affiliated with the TTP, had been involved in several targeted killings, including that of constable Iftikhar. They were also involved in many hand grenade attacks on security forces and police, including the one on the Cantonment police station, the CTD said.

Four sub-machine guns along with cartridges and other arms were recovered from the militants’ possession.

Heavy contingents of police and security forces rushed to the site following the clash and launched a search operation in the area.

Separately, a policeman was injured after militants attacked a checkpoint with sophisticated weapons in Dera Ismail Khan, a police spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Syed Yaqoob Bukhari, a spokesperson for the Dera Ismail Khan police, told Dawn that unidentified militants stormed the Khutti checkpoint late on Monday within the limits of Dera Town Police Station on Dera-Zhob Road.

The police retaliated the attack, which led to an exchange of fire for some time. The militants fled from the scene and no casualties were reported, the police said.

However, a police constable, identified as Kamran, was injured in the incident, the police said. He was immediately shifted to the District Headquarters Teaching Hospital in Dera Ismail Khan.

As soon as the incident was reported, District Police Officer Muhammad Shoaib Khan along with a heavy contingent of police reached the spot and a search operation was started in the area to trace the assailants.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2023

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