QUETTA: An army major and a soldier were martyred in an exchange of fire with terrorists in Kech district of Balochistan on Sunday night, the ISPR said.

The incident occurred hours after the martyrdom of four security personnel in simultaneous attacks on three checkpoints in Sherani district.

ISPR, the military’s media wing, said in a statement that security forces on credible intelligence about the movement of a gang of terrorists launched an operation in the Hoshab area of Kech district. While establishment of blocking positions to cut the escape routes was under way, a party of terrorists opened fire on the security forces.

“As a result of heavy exchange of fire, Major Saqib Hussain and Naik Baqir Ali embraced Shahadat, while another soldier got injured,” the ISPR said.

“Security forces, in step with the nation, remain determined to thwart such attempts at sabotaging peace, stability and progress of Balochistan. Resultantly, the follow-up operation to nab the perpetrators of attack continues in the area.”

Attacks on checkpoints

Earlier in the day, four security personnel, including two officers, were martyred and a suspected terrorist was killed in attacks on three checkpoints on Zhob-D.I. Khan Highway in Sherani district.

“The armed attacks were launched simultaneously on three security check posts of police, Levies and Frontier Corps, which are close to each other in Danasar area,” Zhob Division Commissioner Saeed Ahmed Umrani said, adding that a combing operation is under way for the arrest of attackers.

The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attacks on the posts in a statement issued by its spokesman.

Officials said armed militants lobbed grenades and rockets which exploded at the police checkpoint, resulting in the martyrdom of three personnel.

The armed men also attacked the FC post and hurled grenades and opened fire with automatic weapons. The FC personnel deployed returned the fire. Police and Levies forces also retaliated.

“Three police personnel and an FC officer lost their lives in the attacks,” Sherani Deputy Commissioner Bilal Shabbir confirmed to Dawn. He said that during the heavy exchange of fire, which continued for more than two hours, one suspected attacker was killed and two others were injured.

The officials said the Levies post also came under attack, but no one was injured. They said personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Department reached the site and collected evidence.

Further investigation was in progress while security forces were conducting a search operation in the area to trace the attackers, they added.

The body of the suspected attacker was shifted to Zhob district hospital. “We also received four bodies of security personnel and an injured person,” officials at the hospital said.

The martyred personnel were identified as Sub-Inspector Bahadur Khan Babar, Sepoys Baz Khan and Mohammad Afzal and FC Captain Saeed.

Highway blocked

A large number of people from Sherani district, including relatives of the martyred security personnel, gathered in the Danasar area and blocked the Zhob-D.I. Khan Highway in protest against the attacks on the checkpoints.

The protesters put barricades on the road, suspending all kinds of traffic between Zhob and D.I. Khan for two hours. However, the road was opened after the administration assured the protesters that an operation had been launched and the attackers would be arrested.

Balochistan Governor Malik Abdul Wali Khan Kakar, Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and Home Minister Ziaullah Langove strongly condemned the attacks and expressed grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of four security personnel.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2023

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