6 killed as Pakistani soldiers, militants engage in shootout
Armed militants have attacked a mosque at an army facility in northwestern Pakistan, prompting a gunfight with army soldiers that left a total of six people dead.
The Pakistani military said in a statement that the raid took place at Ghalani Camp in Mohmand tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Saturday.
Security forces “valiantly averted” an attempted bombing and killed all four militants, the statement read, adding that two Pakistani troops were killed and 14 more wounded.
The assailants started firing after they reached the army base mosque, where residents and recruits had gathered for an early morning prayer. Security officials said they were trying to trace and detain any accomplices of the assailants.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the militant group said the assault was in response to alleged torture of detained militants.
Pakistani army has conducted several operations to eliminate militant hideouts in the Mohmand tribal region.
The country has been battling al-Qaeda-linked terrorists and pro-Taliban militants for years, especially after the US-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan in 2001 and the subsequent spillover of militancy into the region.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has vowed to continue operations against militants until they are eliminated in the country.