Heavily-armed militants attacked an army garrison in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province in the early hours of Wednesday, killing at least four soldiers and wounding five others, the army said.
A group of terrorists launched a ”dastardly attack” on Zhob Garrison in the north of the province, leading to clashes in which three militants were also killed, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the army- said in a statement.
The intense shootout also resulted in the death of a female passerby and left five other civilians injured, it added.
A little known militant group – Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan – claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, without providing any details.
An initial attempt of terrorists to sneak into the facility was countered by soldiers on duty and in the ensuing heavy exchange of fire, terrorists were contained into a small area at the boundary.
”A clearance operation by Security Forces is underway to apprehend remaining two terrorists as well,” the statement said, adding that the security forces were determined to thwart all such “ghastly attempts at destroying peace” in Balochistan.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo condemned the attack on the Zhob garrison and paid tribute to the Pakistan Army for thwarting it by taking swift action.
He offered his condolences to the families of the dead and said that ”Pakistan Army is the guarantor of peace and security in the region.” Pakistan has been facing an uptick in attacks by the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Baloch separatists in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Balochistan province has experienced a surge in violent incidents in recent months, including bombings and targeted attacks, leading to heightened security measures and public safety concerns. Earlier this month, four security personnel lost their lives while a terrorist was killed after attacks by the rebels in the Dhana Sar area of Balochistan.
A think-tank, Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, in its report this month said the first half of 2023 has witnessed a steady rise in terror attacks, which killed 389 people across the country.