• Officials say the men were involved in extortion
• Policeman, soldier martyred in Tank and D.I. Khan

PESHAWAR: Four militants were killed, and a soldier was martyred in separate operations in Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan, the military’s media wing and senior police officials said on Thursday.

The militants, including a wanted commander, were killed in a midnight raid in the Hassan Khel area on Peshawar’s outskirts.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), an intelligence-based operation (IBO) was carried out on the reported presence of militants.

The security forces “effectively enga­ged the militants’ location” and gunned down four of them. They were identified as militant commander Samiullah alias Shenay, militant commander Salman alias Ahmed, Imran alias Muhammad and Hazrat Umar alias Khalid.

“Weapons, ammunition and explosives were also recovered,” the ISPR said, adding that the terrorists were “actively involved in numerous terrorist activities, including extortion and target killings in the area”.

A senior police official told Dawn that the IBO was jointly carried out by the army, local police and the Counter-Terrorism Department on the reported “movement of seven to eight militants” along the border between Mattani, Hassan Khel and Azakhel areas.

A heavy exchange of fire took place between the forces and militants around midnight, and the gun battle lasted till around 01:45am.

A search operation was launched in the area, leading to the recovery of four dead bodies, including that of the militant commander Samiullah alias Shenay, who was allegedly involved in extortion and attacks on the houses of those who wouldn’t pay the money.

“Shenay had claimed the ownership of this area. He called it his wilayah (territory) and extorted locals,” the official said.

Another senior official claimed that Shenay was involved in the attack on a trader’s house in the Hayatabad area of Peshawar on July 7. The trader had allegedly refused to pay the extortion money.

Detailing the investigation that led to Shenay’s arrest, the official told Dawn that security agencies collected data and discovered that the extortion call was made from a SIM card issued under the name of a woman in Muzaffargarh, Punjab.

The same number was used again to make a WhatsApp call within hours of the July 7 attack. The cellular company had allegedly issued SIMs illegally in the name of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries.

The police later made more arrests, including the franchise owner who issued the Sim, and during the investigation, the suspects revealed details about Shenay.

“It took us 12 days to pinpoint Shenay’s location since we were following him, and ultimately, we encircled him,” the official added.

Soldier, cop martyred

The ISPR added that another operation was carried out in the Kulachi area of Dera Ismail Khan.

Lance Naik Muhammad Ejaz Khan, 34, a resident of Bagh, Azad Kashmir, was martyred following an intense exchange of fire with militants.

According to the police spokesperson, constable Waris Shah was on security duty outside the Nadra office within the jurisdiction of the City Police Station.

A sanitisation operation in surrounding areas was being carried out to neutralise any other militants, the ISPR statement added.

Meanwhile, a cop embraced martyrdom in a militant attack outside the Nadra office in Tank district on Thursday. He was shot by militants riding on a motorcycle.

A search operation was launched immediately after the attack, according to the police spokesperson.

Later, funeral prayers for the martyred cop were offered at the DPO’s office.

Attack on police post

In Bannu, unidentified militants attacked a police checkpoint in the Speena Tangi area late Wednesday night.

An official said that the police post on the border between Bannu and Tank districts was attacked by militants armed with heavy weapons.

The posse deployed at the post repulsed the attack.

The post was partially damaged in the attack, the official said, adding that no casualties were reported.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2023

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