Ten Isis-linked militants killed in gun battle with Pakistani police

Richard Cosgrove

Police in Pakistan have said 10 militants have been killed in a shoot-out in Lahore.

The counter-terrorism unit has claimed the life of Anwarul Haq, who is suspected of organising a recent suicide bombing in Lahore that killed 13 people.

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An official statement said the shoot-out occurred when officers were escorting Haq and four other militants to an arms and explosives cache on Saturday (8 April) morning.

Reuters reported that the police were attacked by around nine militants who grabbed Haq and the other militants who were being escorted.

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Police officers then located the militants near a river in Lahore where the shootings occurred, according to the Associated Press report.

"A gun battle ensued. When firing stopped 10 militants were found dead," a spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab said in a statement.

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The militants shot were allegedly members of the Pakistani Taliban or Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group from the Taliban.

Haq had been arrested after a suicide bombing attack in February after he was spotted on security footage with the bomber.

Earlier in the week, a suicide attack on a Lahore army base that killed six was claimed Pakistani Taliban.

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for February's attack in Lahore that left 13 dead, and a 2016 Easter Day bombing in Lahore that killed more than 70.

Some Pakistani officials have accused Afghanistan of sheltering Pakistani Taliban, while Afghanistan's government has claimed Islamabad is hiding members of the Afghan Taliban.

The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist fundamentalist political movement, which has been engaged in an insurgency in Afghanistan since 1994. In 2013, the Taliban changed its official name to Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

The group – which was formed in Afghanistan's Pashtun community – aims to rule Afghanistan under a strict interpretation of Sharia law.

The Taliban is known for enforcing an infamously strict interpretation of Islamic law (Sharia), which included the banning of music, dance, television, education for girls, enforced with torture and mass executions.

Members of the Taliban were responsible for the shooting of the activist Malala Yousafzai. In 2012, 50 imams of Pakistan's Sunni Ittehad Council issued a fatwa (a judicial judgement on Islamic law) condemning the attack as un-Islamic.

The Taliban's wider ideology has also been widely criticised by the worldwide Muslim community.

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar is a terrorist group that broke away from the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan faction, which is suspect of allying with Isis.

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