Wednesday December 06, 2023

Major among four soldiers martyred as two bombers strike during operation in Dir

By our correspondents
August 10, 2017

DIR: Four personnel of security forces, including a major, were martyred during an intelligence-based operation in the Sheratkal village of Sultankhel Darra in Upper Dir in the wee hours of Wednesday, security officials said.

The fatalities were caused by a suicide blast that took place when security forces raided a house where militants were hiding. At least four other security personnel also sustained injuries in the incident.

One suicide bomber was also killed in the exchange of fire while another was arrested, security officials added. The operation was launched at midnight on a tip-off that militants, including suicide bombers, had sneaked into the village from Afghanistan.

Major Ali Salman, who belonged to an intelligence agency, was leading the operation in Sheratkal, situated some 45 kilometres south of Dir town. He, along with three other personnel, Havaldar Ghulam Nazir, Havaldar Akhtar and a Levies Sepoy Abdul Karim, were martyred when a bomber blew himself up when their hideout was stormed.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed the loss of lives of security forces.“An officer and three soldiers sacrificed their lives while foiling a devastating terrorist activity. Major Ali Salman of (an) intelligence agency along with his team conducted an IBO against a terrorist hideout in (Sheratkal in Upper Dir),” the ISPR press release said.

It also confirmed the killing of another suicide bomber in exchange of fire and the arrest of another terrorist.The explosion and firing terrified the local population. Official sources said one militant was killed and another was arrested during the operation.

The Taliban militants had attempted to gain a toehold in Upper Dir but local lashkars assisted by the security forces had evicted them from the mountainous Doog Darra. The militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah had taken refuge in Afghanistan.

Locals said security forces had also rounded up several suspected people. A person, who requested anonymity for his security, said the arrested people also included the owner of the house where the militants had taken shelter.

According to the residents, the house had been unoccupied since long as an earthquake had badly damaged it and the owner had vacated it.Deputy Commissioner Usman Mehsud said the operation was conducted following leads that militants had reportedly entered the area from Afghanistan using Chitral and Lower Dir. He confirmed one of the martyred personnel belonged to Dir Levies.

It couldn’t be ascertained as to what target the militants were planning to hit.Last year, locals said, security forces had recovered suicide jackets from the same area. However, it may be mentioned that the area has hardly been known for militants’ activities.

 Our correspondent adds from Islamabad: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed deep grief over the martyrdom of four security personnel in Upper Dir.

The PM said that the war against terrorism in fact was the war of our existence as a sovereign nation. “Our valiant forces have inflicted huge damage upon terrorist elements but at the same time have rendered huge sacrifices in doing so. Each drop of blood of our heroes is a testament to the fact that we all are united as a nation to cleanse our beloved motherland from terrorist elements. These cowardly attacks on our law enforcing agencies can never flinch our resolve to back off or slow down in our continued anti-terror operations,” he added.He also prayed for the departed souls and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.