Four servicemen, including a senior officer, were martyred in an intelligence based operation (IBO) in the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the military said in a statement on Monday.
Three terrorists were also killed and as many injured in the gunfight which came amid a sharp upsurge in terrorist violence in the country – a series of bomb and gun attacks on security forces, including a brazen assault on a training airbase in Mianwali.
The IBO was launched by security forces on the reported presence of terrorists in the general area of Tirah, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military media wing, said in a statement.
“During the operation, own troops led by Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Hassan Haider, effectively engaged the terrorists’ location [and] as a result of which three terrorists were sent to hell, while three terrorists got injured,” it stated.
However, during the intense exchange of fire, “four brave sons of soil having fought gallantly embraced Shahadat”, it added.
The martyrs were identified as Lt Col Muhammad Hassan Haider, 43 and a resident of Islamabad; Naik Khushdil Khan, 31 and a resident of Lakki Marwat District; Naik Rafique Khan, 27 and a resident of Charsadda District; and Lance Naik Abdul Qadir, 33 a and resident of Murree district.
“A sanitisation operation is being carried out to eliminate any terrorists found in the area,” the ISPR said. “Security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve.”
Funeral prayers of Lt Col Hassan, Khushdil, Rafique and Abdul were offered in Peshawar Garrison. “The Shuhada will be laid to rest with full military honours in their respective hometowns,” the ISPR said.
Peshawar corps commander and a large number of serving officers and jawans, civil officials and general public attended the funeral.
The country witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent days. Overnight, militants struck security personnel in Dera Ismail Khan. Though the attack on the post in the limits of Gul Imam police station in the Tank area of DI Khan was repelled, it clearly showed that the forces inimical to peace had become active again.
On Saturday, at least nine terrorists were killed after they attacked the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Mianwali Training Air Base which, the military said, was “foiled and thwarted”.
The attack came a day after 17 servicemen were martyred in different terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) provinces.
Militant group Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP) had claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to journalists by its spokesperson.
The TJP came to the fore only this year and little is known about the group, which has carried out a string of high-profile attacks in the country, including martyring 12 soldiers at a Pakistani military base in the southwestern province of Balochistan in July.
A day earlier, at least 20 people, including 17 troops, were martyred in different terrorist attacks in Balochistan and K-P provinces.