MULTAN, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistan police foiled a major terror attack Saturday in central Punjab province killing at least four suspected Taliban militants, officials said.
Heavy weapons and explosives – including four suicide jackets, 12 rockets, 40 hand grenades, 328 kilogrammes (723 pounds) of gun-powder – were recovered from the militants after a gun battle in the southern Muzaffargarh district, some 350 kilometres (217 miles) from provincial capital Lahore.
“We received information from intelligence officials about the movement of militants in the area. The gunfight started when police signalled a car to stop for checks and militants fired at the cops,” Rai Zamir-ul-Haq, police chief in the district, told AFP.
“In the exchange of fire, we killed four militants. Two police officials were also injured by two grenades hurled at them by the militants,” he said.
Police said they also found chemicals for potential use in a attack stored in the militants’ vehicle, which were also confiscated for further investigation.
“By seizing such large quantity of weapons and explosives and killing these militants, we have foiled a major attempt of terror in the region. There were confirmed intelligence reports that the militants were planning major terrorist attacks in Multan and Muzaffargarh cities,” Haq said.
The authorities suspect that the militants are linked to the Punjabi Taleban faction of the Tehreek-i-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), a militant outfit which has waged a long-term Islamic insurgency in the country and has killed thousands of people in suicide, bomb and gun attacks.
“The killed militants belonged to banned Punjabi Taleban’s Abu-Ubaida group and we had received confirmed intelligence reports about their planned activities,” Haq said.