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Two soldiers killed in rare gunfight in Gilgit-Baltistan

Two soldiers and three militants were killed in an exchange of fire during an intelligence-based raid on a militant hideout near Chillas town of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) on Thursday, the military’s media wing, ISPR, said.

“Three wanted terrorists were killed by security forces in a successful IBO in Tarel valley in village Gayyal near Chillas in Gilgit-Baltistan today,” a statement issued by the ISPR said.

The military’s media wing further claimed that the suspects killed during the raid were involved in attacks on civil transport, tourists and security forces on the Karakoram Highway (KKH). “Two security forces personnel also embraced shahadat (martyrdom) in exchange of fire,” it added.

Meanwhile, security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to arrest the remaining suspects.

The statement did not mention which group the militants belonged to, but the Chilas district is a known stronghold of Sunni extremist outfits such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Last night, at least five terrorists were killed during an ensuing gun battle with security forces after suspects launched a raid on a military check post in Khyber Agency. “Five terrorists were killed in exchange of fire with security forces in Darmu Drab Pass, Khyber Agency. Troops valiantly responded and foiled terrorists’ attempt,” ISPR said.

The incident comes two days after Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif confirmed death sentences of 13 ‘hardcore militants’, including one involved in the killing foreign tourists  in Nanga Parbat.

According to the ISPR, the condemned terrorists were tried by military courts for their involvement in Nanga Parbat attack, Saidu Sharif airport, destruction of schools, attacks on armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civilians.

The decision to award death penalties to terrorists involved in the massacre of foreign climbers at the Nanga Parbat base camp in 2013 was welcomed by the G-B government.

“We welcome and support the decision against terrorists,” said the G-B Parliamentary Secretary on Law Aurangzeb Khan Advocate, while speaking at a press conference in the Chief Minister Camp Office, Gilgit.

On that fateful night of June 24, 2013, gunmen dressed in Gilgit Scouts uniforms stormed the camp and shot dead 10 foreign hikers – including one American with dual Chinese citizenship, two other Chinese, three Ukrainians, two Slovakians, one Lithuanian, one Nepalese and a Pakistani guide.

A faction of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed credit for the attack, which shocked the world and scarred the country’s climbing tourism industry.


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