Islamabad: Pakistani security forces raided a compound in the country’s troubled southwest and killed four militants linked to an attack on a police academy earlier in the week, officials said on Friday.
The raid in Quetta, the capital of strife-riven Balochistan province, was carried out late on Thursday following an intelligence tip-off about the presence of fighters from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militant group.
“A team of anti-terrorist force (ATF) raided the compound and killed four militants after an exchange of gunfire,” a senior local police official Abdullah Afridi told AFP.
Speaking off the record, a police official said the militants belonged to the LeJ – a faction of which claimed it had worked with the Islamic State group to carry out the Monday night raid that killed 61 people, the deadliest assault on a security installation in Pakistan’s history.
IS had previously also claimed the raid and released photos of the fighters involved, one of whom bore a strong resemblance to a attacker who was killed by security forces in the assault.
The Balochistan government has also formed a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising officials from the army, police and intelligence agencies to probe Monday’s attack.
Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency since shortly after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, though overall levels of violence have dropped following a series of militatry offensives in the country’s western tribal regions.
Monday night’s raid though served as a grim reminder that militant groups are still able to carry out major assaults from time to time.