Attack on shrine thwarted, 5 JuA militants killed in Pakistan’s Punjab

Five militants JuA were killed in a gunbattle with a CTD team after they refused to surrender. Three escaped.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2017 20:28 IST
PTI, Lahore
Pakistani paramilitary soldiers stop a vehicle at a security check point in Peshawar on February 17, following bomb attack on a shrine of 13th century Muslim Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan in Sindh province.(AFP Photo)

An imminent attack on a shrine in Multan in Pakistan’s Punjab province was thwarted with the killing of five militants, police said on Sunday, days after a suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in Sindh claimed 88 lives.

The militants belonged to Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) group, which claimed a suicide blast in Lahore earlier this month in which 15 people died, the Crime Terrorism Department of Punjab police said.

A CTD spokesman said the department received information that eight JuA terrorists had planned to attack a shrine in Multan. The terrorists were hiding in Layyah district, some 350 km from Lahore, and waiting for orders from JuA chief Omer Khalid Khorasani to launch the attack on Sunday, he said.

The spokesman said five militants were killed in a gunbattle with a CTD team after they refused to surrender. Three escaped.

The spokesman said four hand-grenades, 1 rifle, 2 pistols were recovered from them.

The CTD has killed 11 JuA terrorists since a member of the group carried out a suicide blast in Lahore on February 13, killing 15 people including senior police officers.

Last week, the CTD killed six JuA terrorists in Khanewal district of the province.

Pakistan has stepped up its offensive against militants after a suicide blast on Thursday at the famed Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in southern Sindh province killed 88.

A day after the bombing, Pakistan Army claimed to have killed 100 suspected militants in “intelligence-based operations” across the country. And, law enforcement agencies have beefed up security at all holy places.

Read| Pakistan kills over 100 militants in crackdown after Sufi shrine blast by IS

First Published: Feb 19, 2017 20:17 IST