Three terrorists were killed by security forces in an exchange of fire during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Tank district, the military’s media wing said on Thursday.

A statement from the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said security forces conducted a joint IBO based on the reported presence of terrorists.

“During the conduct of operation, after intense fire exchange, three terrorists were successfully neutralised and sent to hell. These terrorists have been identified as terrorist ringleader Azmat Azmati, terrorist ringleader Karamat Hanzla and terrorist Rehan,” the ISPR said.

It added that they were actively involved in numerous terrorist activities in the area, including the recent abduction of a South Waziristan sessions judge.

“Security forces remain determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country,” the ISPR said.

Shakirullah Marwat, the sessions judge of South Waziristan district, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen from the Garah Mohabaat Adda area of Dera Ismail Khan district on Saturday.

Officials had told Dawn that the judge was intercepted by around 10 to 15 armed mot­orcyclists while travelling on the DI Khan-Tank Road towards Dera Ismail Khan. While the gunmen left the judge’s driver un­harmed, they set fire to the judge’s official vehicle before fleeing with him.

He was recovered late on Sunday night after an appeal to the government and judiciary to accept the demands of his abductors.

A case of his abduction was registered at the Counter Terrorism Department police station on Sunday under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and other provisions.

The ISPR had said on Monday that four terrorists were killed in an IBO in Tank district.

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in the past year, especially in KP and Balochistan after the banned militant Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan ended its ceasefire with the government in November 2022.

According to an annual security report issued by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Pakistan witnessed 1,524 violence-related fatalities and 1,463 injuries from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations in 2023 — marking a record six-year high.

KP and Balochistan were the primary centres of violence, accounting for over 90 per cent of all fatalities and 84pc of attacks, including incidents of terrorism and security forces operations.

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