4 militants among 7 killed in suicide attack, shootout in Pak

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a busy market near Sohrab Khan Chowk in Mingora, the main city in Swat district, killing three civilians and injuring 12 others.
The attack occurred shortly after troops arrested two militants, including a would-be suicide bomber, and four militants were killed in a skirmish.

Briefing the media about the events, Maj Gen Asfhaq Nadeem, the army officer in charge of operations in Swat, said security forces were moved to Sohrab Khan Chowk after the two arrested militants revealed their accomplices were planning to launch suicide attacks in Mingora and its suburbs.

The security forces cordoned off Sohrab Khan Chowk and ordered the armed militants to surrender. Instead, the rebels started firing at the troops and they retaliated.
Four militants were killed and seven security personnel were injured in the gun battle. One of the militants evaded the troops and detonated his explosive vest, killing three civilians and injuring several others.
Nadeem said this group of militants was involved in anti-state activities in Mingora for the past three weeks.

He said such isolated incidents could not be ruled out in future.
Security forces were on high alert and would thwart the designs of militants and anti-state elements, he added.

Huge plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the site of the suicide blast, which caused widespread panic in the city.
Footage on television showed people carrying the injured away from the site as army soldiers and policemen cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.
The powerful blast damaged a dozen shops.

All markets in Mingora closed down soon after the explosion.
Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti condemned the attack, describing it as a cowardly act.
He ordered a probe into the incident and directed officials to provide the best possible treatment to victims.

Most parts of Swat were controlled by Taliban fighters led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah till the army launched a major offensive last year to flush out the militants.
The army claims Swat has been cleared of the militants. However, militants have carried out several attacks and gunned down at least five persons, including a mayor, who opposed the Taliban in recent weeks.

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