33 militants who had taken hostages at counter-terrorism centre killed: Pakistan

Pakistan military personnel. [Photo: Radio Pakistan]

Pakistan army on Tuesday killed 33 militants in the restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The killing has ended a nearly two-day-long hostage crisis that had gripped the country.

Two personnel of the Pakistan army were also killed in the operation that was launched after negotiations between the government and the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants to end the hostage crisis failed.

Defence Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Asif confirmed that all the militants who had taken hostages at a Counter-Terrorism Depart­ment (CTD) centre in Bannu were killed in an operation conducted by the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG).

“This operation was initiated on December 20 at 12:30 pm by the Special Service Group and all terrorists were killed,” Asif said while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, as per PTI report.

He said that 33 militants were under arrest at the CTD compound and one of them had managed to snatch a gun from an employee after hitting him in the head with a brick.

The defence minister said that two commandos were killed while over a dozen were injured during the operation. Asif said that the militants had killed two hostages before the rescue operation.

He said that all remaining hostages were freed but didn’t provide their numbers. Earlier, police sources had said that about two dozen officials had been made hostages.

Footage aired on TV on Tuesday showed plumes of smoke rising in the air from the CTD compound.

The standoff began on Sunday when an arrested TTP militant, who was being interrogated at the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) police station inside the Bannu Cantonment, snatched an AK-47 from the police and opened fire.

He then freed other wanted militants being held at the building and together they took control of the compound. They also took several policemen as hostages. The TTP demanded safe passage for its militants either to South or North Waziristan tribal districts, the news agency report said.


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