Pakistan says the army has killed an Islamic militant who was a chief suspect in the killing of more than 100 minority Shia Hazaras and police in the southern city of Quetta.
An army colonel commanding the operation was also killed in the raid.
Security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in Killi Almas village near Quetta, Balochistan, on a tip off from an already apprehended high value target, the army’s media wing said in a statement on May 16.
The intelligence related to the presence of suicide bombers along with other terrorists in a hideout.
“During the operation three terrorists, including two suicide bombers and high-value target Salman Badeni, head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Balochistan, were killed,” the army said.
The statement added that Colonel Sohail Abid of Military Intelligence was killed and four soldiers were injured during an intense exchange of fire.
A large cache of munitions belonging to the militants was recovered from the hideout.
The latest military raid comes a day after Hazara residents of Quetta staged a hunger strike over increased militant attacks on the ethnic and religious Muslim minority.
At least eight Hazaras and 15 Christians have been killed in Balochistan’s provincial capital in recent drive-by shootings that were claimed by the terror outfit Islamic State. This followed a wave or earlier killings.
However, police told local media that it was local Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants masquerading as Islamic State who were behind the violence.
Earlier this month, hundreds of Hazaras went on a hunger strike outside Quetta Press Club and the Balochistan Legislative Assembly to protest what they described as an “Hazara genocide.”
The protest was called off only after Pakistan’s powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, flew to Quetta for talks with Hazara representatives.
“While nothing can compensate for the loss of dear ones, those who have targeted them shall suffer twice as much,” Gen. Bajwa told protest leaders.
“The state is responsible for the security of its citizens and all state institutions are concerned.
“Each and every casualty, including from the Hazara community, is of concern to us, and our brave security forces are performing their best and willingly offering monumental sacrifices to bring lasting peace to the country.”
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