KARACHI: Five alleged militants, including two commanders of the regional branch of al Qaeda, were killed on Monday in an encounter with a law enforcement agency.
According to officials, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) carried out a raid on the basis of a tip-off in the suburban Khairabad area of Karachi’s Orangi Town.
CTD official Raja Omar Khattab said the raid was followed by a gunfight in which the militants used hand grenades and other sophisticated weapons that caused damage to the police’s armoured personnel carrier.
The counterterrorism force later claimed it killed al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) Karachi chapter chief Noorul Hassan alias Hashim alias Bhai Jan alias Babu Bhai, as well as the AQIS deputy commander Usman alias Irfan alias Abdullah.
The third militant was identified as Ibrahim alias Rafiq alias Ovais. However, their two other comrades – which the CTD claimed were suicide bombers – could not be identified.
Khattab said the militants were using their hideout as a bomb factory. “We have recovered a huge cache of explosives, chemicals, detonators, as well as three suicide jackets, laptops and literature for making bombs from the place,” he said.
According to the official, the militants were planning a major terror activity in a city. “They were also involved in several cases of terrorism and attacks on law enforces including the last month suicide attack on a Rangers’ vehicle in Karachi,” he claimed.
At least two Rangers personnel were killed and three others sustained injuries on March 20 when a suicide bomber attacked their vehicle, which was on regular patrol in the North Nazimabad area of the city.
He said the suicide attacker who attacked the Rangers vehicle has also been identified as Arif alias Wahaj – a resident of Korangi’s Bilal Colony and a student of Karachi’s top religious seminary.
“We have also recovered his video statement which he recorded before attacking the Rangers,” he said.
In spite of these claims, sources said the suspects were arrested a few days back and were in the CTD custody.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2015.