Nine terrorists were killed in a clearance operation after the Pakistan Army foiled a terrorist attack on the Mianwali Training Air Base of the Pakistan Air Force in the early hours of Saturday, the military’s media wing said.

The development comes on the heels of a series of incidents that left at least 17 soldiers martyred in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

They include a militant attack in Gwadar, a remote-controlled bomb explosion in Dera Ismail Khan and a security operation in KP’s Lakki Marwat. A fourth incident, another remote-controlled blast in Dl Khan, had left five people dead and at least 24 injured, including police officials.

In a statement issued in the morning, the Inter-Services Public Relations had said the attack on the air base had been foiled, with three terrorists “neutralised” and three others “cornered/isolated”.

In an afternoon update, the military confirmed that the “combing and clearance operation at PAF Training Airbase Mianwali has been concluded and all nine terrorists have been sent to hell”.

It added that the operation was launched to “eliminate any potential threat in the surrounding area following the cowardly and failed terrorist attack on the base this morning”.

The ISPR further said that no damage had been done to any of the PAF’s functional operational assets, while only some damage was done to three already phased-out non-operational aircraft during the attack.

“The prompt and professional conclusion of the operation serves as a stark reminder to all enemies of peace that Pakistan’s armed forces remain vigilant and are fully capable of defending the homeland from any threat,” the statement asserted.

In the earlier statement, it said that “some damage to three already grounded aircraft and a fuel bowser also occurred” during the attack and that it had launched a “comprehensive joint clearance and combing operation” to clear the area of terrorists.

The Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), a newly emerged militant group that is an affiliate of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility in a statement to media. The banned militant Balochistan Liberation Front group today claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack in Gwadar while there were no claims for the attacks in DI Khan.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said the PAF has “once again proven its mettle by thwarting a cowardly terrorist attack in Mianwali”.

“Any attempt to undermine our security will meet with unwavering resistance. The nation stands with you and we salute your courage and resolve,” he added.

President Dr Arif Alvi “denounced” the attack and expressed “satisfaction” at its failure, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Also “strongly condemning” yesterday’s attack in Gwadar, he was quoted as saying that “terrorists are enemies of Pakistan and efforts will continue for their complete elimination”.

Interim interior minister Sarfraz Bugti said that the names of terrorists involved in today’s and yesterday’s attacks “must have been different but the enemy behind the scenes is the same”.

He termed the current wave of terror a “conspiracy to make Pakistan a target of uncertainty and instability once again”. The minister vowed that all civil and military institutions will unite to combat terrorism.

Former premier Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the attack, saying that the “repeated attacks reveal our enemies’ desperation”.

“Prayers for the affected families and our brave security personnel”, he said while saluting the armed forces for “foiling evil plans”.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari praised the security forces as well for “risking their lives and foiling the terrorists’ plans”.

In a statement shared by the party’s official social media account, he was quoted as saying that the nation stood with the Pakistan Army to end terrorism.

“Our war against those who build walls of hatred will continue until the end of the last terrorist,” the PPP co-chairman said.


Additional input from AFP

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