ISLAMABAD (AP) — An army operation in Pakistan's northwest targeting militants triggered a firefight that left a soldier and four fighters dead, the army's media wing said Sunday.
The development comes weeks after Pakistani Taliban detainees overpowered their guards at a counter-terrorism center in the northwest, snatching police weapons, taking hostages and seizing control of the facility.
The Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, have waged an insurgency over the past 15 years, fighting for stricter enforcement of Islamic law in the country, the release of their members in government custody and a reduction of Pakistani military presence in the country’s former tribal regions.
It was not immediately clear if the four militants killed late Saturday were from the TTP.
The operation in the Jani Khel area of Bannu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province targeted militants involved in attacking security forces and civilians, the army said. Weapons and ammunition were recovered from the four slain assailants after an intense exchange of fire.
Bannu's army control center confirmed the operation, but declined to give further details. Jani Khel is close to the site of last month's hostage situation at the counter-terrorism center.
Militants late Saturday attacked a police checkpoint in the Lakki Marwat area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing an officer. One of the assailants was killed in retaliation, police said.
Anwar Shah, assistant sub-inspector at police control in Lakki Marwat, said Sunday that around 15 militants attacked the Shehbaz Khel checkpoint at 12:15 a.m. with machine guns, RPGs and grenades.