RAWALPINDI: A wounded elite force Sub-Inspector (SI) and five others, including two women and two children, were killed when police forces raided a residence believed to be housing those involved in the attack on former Punjab home minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada.
Four policemen were also injured in the encounter that took place when law enforcement agencies raided the house on Rawalpindi's Chakri road early Thursday. Meanwhile, five suspects were taken into custody.
The law enforcement agencies were aiming to arrest an individual in connection with the Khanzada case.
When security personnel reached the location, hand grenades were hurled at them, injuring Sub-Inspector Irshad who later succumbed to his injuries, DawnNews reported.
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An Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and three other policemen were injured, while three suspected militants, including a woman, were killed during the exchange of fire with security forces, police sources said.
Those injured were admitted to District Headquarters Hospital Rawalpindi for treatment.
At least five were arrested during the raid. These include the owner of the house who is believed to be the target of the operation. The other four include two who were deemed 'suspicious' and two who were living there, DawnNews reported.
The area has been cordoned off and a thorough search of the residence is under way. Police are expected to interrogate those taken into custody.
In September, the Counter-Terrorism Department had announced the arrest of a suspected facilitator of the attack on Khanzada, Qasim Muavia.
A CTD source said Muavia was a member of the Qari Sohail Group and had been on the âmost wanted listâ of the CTD for his alleged involvement in target killings in the Attock district.
The involvement of Qari Sohail Group in the suicide attack emerged when the investigators found a motorcycle abandoned at the scene of the attack. The bike was suspected to be used by the bomber for reaching Khanzadaâs dera in the Shadi Khan village of Attock, Dawn newspaper had reported.
Within a week of the announcement of Muavia's arrest, the CTD conducted an intelligence-based raid on a house in Iqbal Town Division's Sherakot area on the outskirts of Lahore.
During the 'encounter', four people suspected of involvement in the Khanzada attack were killed.
Also read: Shuja Khanzada murder: Four suspects killed in CTD 'encounter'
Shuja Khanzada was killed in a suicide attack on his political office in Shadi Khan village, Attock, in August, along with 16 others.
Two suicide bombers affiliated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) carried out the bombing, a provincial government official had earlier said. Two additional suicide bombers had been deputed to Lahore to attack Khanzada's residence, the official said, but they were recalled after the Attock attack.
Following the incident, a First-Information Report (FIR) had been filed by the Station House Officer (SHO) Ghulam Shabbir of the Rangoo police station on behalf of the state against those involved in the attack.
An initial investigation report given to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif revealed that the home minister was killed in retaliation of the killing of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq and others.
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