Pakistan: A police officer and at least five terrorists were killed in an operation against terrorists holed up inside a residential compound in Peshawar’s Hayatabad area.
Three other police officers were also wounded in the operation, which began on Monday night and lasted nearly 17 hours as security forces neutralized the terrorists hiding in a compound in Hayatabad’s Phase 7.
On Monday the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Shaukat Yousafzai confirmed the operation had concluded and the building had been cleared by Pakistani security forces.
The terror suspects were wanted for attacks on a judge and additional inspector-general of police, security sources said.
Pakistan Army personnel also took part in the operation alongside the police force.
Funeral prayers for the martyred police officer Qamar Alam were offered at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines. The prayers were attended by KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Lieutenant General Mehmood and the IGP.
While talking to ITCT Newsdesk, Head of South Asia desk and ITCT Deputy Director Faran Jeffery said, “The counter-terror operation in Peshawar has been a success for Pakistani security forces. The operation was carried out on intelligence that some heavily armed terrorists are holed up inside a compound in Hayatabad area. I can confirm that at least one or more of the terrorists killed in Peshawar belonged to the Islamic State group. On Monday it was revealed that a raid in Karachi resulted in the arrest of five IS operatives. These operatives were arrested with laptops and other gadgets, which likely means they were in contact with other IS operatives in Pakistan. It could be information from these IS operatives that could have led to the raid in Peshawar. There is also the fact that the recent suicide bombing in Quetta was claimed by IS, which has made Pakistani officials launch a new crackdown against the group’s presence in Pakistan. Besides that, the local government officials said the terrorists killed in Peshawar were involved in the attack on AIG of police force. The official they’re talking about is AIG Ashraf Noor, who was killed in a suicide bombing in Peshawar in November 2017. The attack was claimed by Islamic State. This likely means that at least some terrorists involved in Peshawar shootout had past or current affiliation with Islamic State. Interestingly, on Tuesday, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) central claimed that its fighters were involved in the shootout in Peshawar but even more interestingly, TTP didn’t own all of the fighters and didn’t give exact figure how many of its fighters were killed, which is very unusual. Rest assured, we can expect some photos of its slain fighters from TTP soon. We also know that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), since the death of its former chief Mullah Fazlullah, has become very close to Islamic State. For starters, TTP recently changed its flag – before TTP used the same flag that was used by Afghan Taliban. But the new TTP flag looks eerily similar to that of Islamic State, with only the difference of black/white background. According to intelligence reports from Afghanistan, TTP has quietly facilitated IS operations on more than one occasion. While IS has launched attacks against Afghan Taliban and even against its former affiliates in Afghanistan like Lashkar-e-Islam, it has not once carried out any attack against TTP. IS would need local help to carry out operations in Pakistan, and TTP offers that and more. TTP and Hizbul Ahrar also released separate statements few months ago calling for all jihadi groups to collaborate in their operations against Pakistan. It is unclear how many other jihadi groups agreed to that call but from past statements from Pakistani security and government officials, we do know that some militant groups out there are collaborating in their operations in Pakistan. The investigation into the Peshawar shootout is still ongoing but based on the information we already have, it’s safe to say that at least one or more terrorists killed in Peshawar had some kind of past or present affiliation with IS. One thing that may confuse many journalists is the group-swapping that many militants engage in. There are militants who have jumped ship from one group to another multiple times in last few years.”
Videos and photos from the Peshawar shootout site were circulating on social media.
PHOTO from last night while the CT op was still ongoing: pic.twitter.com/qVOZ15nRvU
— F. Jeffery (@Natsecjeff) April 16, 2019
The compound where terrorists were hiding was demolished in the explosions due to IED detonated by terrorists as well as rockets fired at the compound by Pakistani commandos.
In its statement released via the Umar Media, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said that some of its fighters from its STF unit (Special Taliban Forces) were slain in the clashes with Pakistani security forces. But TTP statement didn’t clarify how many of its fighters were killed and if any managed to escape.
Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mahmood had visited the site of the anti-terrorist operation on Tuesday morning.
During his visit, Lt Gen Mahmood had directed security officials to adopt all possible precautions to ensure the security of the area’s affected residents.
He lauded the security personnel present at the site, who had been engaged with the suspected terrorists since 8pm last night. He had offered that army commandos could be involved in the final push, if need be.
Residents living around the said house were evacuated with the help of security personnel and rescue forces. Two injured women from the area were also shifted to the Hayatabad Medical Complex for treatment.
According to latest reports, some of the terrorists killed in Peshawar were on the radar of Pakistani security forces since 2017.
One of the terrorists killed was a commander who is being identified as Amjad by Peshawar-based Pakistani journalist Iftikhar Firdous. According to Mr Iftikhar’s report in a local current affairs show, Commander Amjad was involved in several terrorist attacks in Peshawar, including the November 2017 attack on AIG police Ashraf Noor, which was claimed by Islamic State, as well as July 2017 suicide attack on convoy of FC forces, which killed a Major ranking officer of Pakistani military and was claimed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The modus operandi of these terrorists was to host and facilitate the suicide bombers that usually came from Afghanistan. The terrorists, who were likely planning a major attack in Peshawar again, included Afghans and Pakistanis, according to the report. The house where the terrorists were staying was rented out to them one month ago and the owners of the house are currently being interrogated by law enforcement agencies, the report further said.
UPDATE – 17th April:
A total of six terrorists were killed in Hayatabad, one outside the compound before the operation and five in the grand operation. The six terrorists have been identified as:
1. Commander Amjad
6. Imran Mohmand (Afghan national)
Imran Mohmand, 21 year old Afghan national, has been identified as the suicide bomber who the terrorists were planning to use in a major suicide attack in Pakistan involving a motorcycle VBIED.
Pakistani security sources also say that they have found machinery involved in the making of suicide jackets as well as multiple already developed bombs in the compound. The terrorist group was being led by Commander Amjad, who is involved in several attacks in the past, some claimed by Islamic State while others claimed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
This story will be updated in case of new information.