AQIS commander among dead; suspects were involved in killing law enforcers; weapons seized; Asif Chotu involved in terrorist activities in Sindh arrested from DG Khan
KARACHI: The Sindh police killed 12 terrorists belonging to the banned al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Lashker-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in two encounters in the Pipri and Gadap areas on Monday.
The terrorists had been working jointly and targeting law enforcement agencies in Karachi, said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwaar of Malir District.
The encounters, which lasted several hours in a slum off the National Highway, occurred during a raid on a hideout of the outlaws after police received intelligence-based information that terrorists belonging to banned outfits had gathered there, he said.
As the cops, assisted by an intelligence agency, swooped on the hideout, the terrorists opened indiscriminate fire at the police party and the attack was retaliated.
Following an intense gunfight, which lasted about 25 minutes, eight terrorists were arrested in an injured condition, but four of their companions escaped.
The injured were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where they were pronounced dead. Five of them were identified as Sohail alias Chasmatu, an AQIS commander in Karachi, Khalil, Bilal, Talha and Abdul Salaam.
SSP Anwaar said that during search of the hideout they found four pressure cooker bombs, suicide jackets, detonating cords, five hand grenades, ball bearings, five submachine guns, three 9mm pistols and hundreds of bullets.
After learning from the intelligence agency that the fleeing terrorists were present in the Gadap area, the SSP along with a team raided the locality where another exchange of fire took place. After a brief encounter, all the four terrorists were arrested in an injured condition and taken to the JPMC, where they died.
The names of the four terrorists are yet to be ascertained. Four 9mm pistols were said to have been found on them.
SSP Anwaar said the terrorists were involved in the murder of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abdul Fateh Sangri, DSP Abdul Majeed Abbas, Jail Superintendent Zulfiqar Haider and other police officials. Sohail Chasmatu was directly involved in the police killings, he added.
He said the recovered SMGs belonged to the police which the terrorists had taken with them after killing the police officials.
The 9mm and other pistols were sent to the Forensic Division for examination to establish if the weapons were used for committing other killings in the city.
The cops also recovered uniforms of various law enforcement departments. Further investigations are under way.
Meanwhile, a key operative of the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) was arrested in Dera Ghazi Khan on Monday. According to a source, the LeJ-affiliated militant Asif Chotu was held after police launched a search operation in DG Khan.
Chotu was wanted by the police in the Justice Baqar Maqbool attack case and other heinous crimes. The suspect was carrying head money of Rs2.5 million.
At least 15 people were killed and scores of others wounded when a powerful bomb hit a convoy of Justice Baqar Maqbool, the then Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, in Karachi in June 2013. The LeJ had claimed responsibility for the attack. The top Sindh judge miraculously survived the bombing. His driver and eight security personnel escorting him died in the attack.