The alleged architect of a suicide attack at the India-Pakistan Wagah border crossing last year was killed along with two associates early on Saturday during a police operation in Lahore, officials said.
Roohullah, alias Asadullah, believed to be the city chief of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was holed up in the provincial capital’s Burki Road area, media reports said.
Intelligence agencies were pursuing Roohullah since the November 2 attack that killed at least 60 people – about half of them women and children.
Three militant factions, including splinter groups of the Taliban, separately claimed responsibility for the terror strike that took place on the Pakistani side after the popular flag-lowering ceremony.
Sources said the three terrorists opened fire on the raiding party as it entered the neighbourhood. According to media reports, the shootout lasted about half an hour and while his accomplices were killed in retaliatory firing, Roohullah blew himself up.
Several blasts were reportedly heard during the operation. Security personnel entered the premises and recovered the bodies of the three militants after the firing stopped.
Police said the men hailed from northwest Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal region and belonged to TTP’s Mullah Fazlullah group. Apart from Roohullah, the others were identified as his brother, Miraj Khan, and one Umar Farooq.
Sources said the raid was conducted based on information received by intelligence agencies from some of the accused arrested in connection with the Wagah attack.
A large cache of arms, explosives, suicide vests, detonators, militant literature and other equipment was recovered during a sweep of the house, officials said.