Police officers, militants die in weekend violence in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A search was under way in Pakistan’s northwest after gunmen ambushed and opened fire on a police vehicle, killing two people and injuring two more, an official said Saturday.

The assault took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and has borne the brunt of militant violence since the Pakistani Taliban unilaterally ended a cease-fire with the central government in November 2022.

The province is a former stronghold of the militant group, which is also known as the TTP and allied with the Afghan Taliban.

Police officer Tariq Khan said the attackers shot and killed a deputy superintendent and a constable in Lakki Marwat district.

Heavy police reinforcements arrived at the scene, but the assailants had fled. Khan did not say how many attackers there were.

Umar Marwat, a militant commander from the district, claimed responsibility for the attack and alleged the deputy superintendent had been active in operations against the TTP in the area.

The TTP spokesperson has not issued a statement about the assault so far.

In a separate incident, in the province’s Bajaur tribal district, one police officer was killed and another was injured on Saturday in a roadside blast. Police official Zahid Khan said the initial investigation suggested it was an improvised explosive.

Also Saturday, Pakistan’s army said that security forces killed eight militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan district.

According to an official statement, the eight men died after an intense exchange of fire in the Friday night operation. The army alleged they were actively involved in activities against security forces and the targeted killing of civilians.

The statement said that weapons, ammunition, and explosives were recovered from the slain militants.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack in Lakki Marwat and offered his condolences to victims’ families. He praised the army for its operation in Dera Ismail Khan.

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