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Saturday Dec 02 2017

Investigation begins in Peshawar Agriculture Directorate attack, case filed

PESHAWAR: Investigation authorities have started probe in the gun attack at Peshawar Agriculture Directorate, in which nine people were martyred and dozens injured on Friday.

Authorities have filed a case in police stations of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), which includes a terrorism act.

CCTV videos from various locations have also been gathered.

The authorities have also sent body parts of killed terrorists to Lahore for DNA testing.

According to the police, details received from the vehicle registration system show that chassis number of the rickshaw — terrorists used to reach the site — was tampered, while the vehicle was registered in the name of Ibrahim. 

Terrorists on Friday morning attacked the student hostel inside the Directorate of Agriculture Extension on University Road in Peshawar.

The security forces later managed to kill all the terrorists after a gunfight which lasted over an hour.

SSP Operations Sajjad Khan told Geo News that five attackers wearing suicide jackets reached the compound in a rickshaw. 

They were said to be wearing burqas in the rickshaw so as to avoid detection.

The police official said the attackers' first target was the security guard of the premises, following which they made their way inside towards the students' hostel of the Agriculture Training Institute.

Later, army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor praised the police performance during the operation. Speaking to a private news channel, Maj Gen Ghafoor said the terrorists were in contact with their partners in Afghanistan throughout the attack.

He, however, put the number of killed terrorists at three.

The police and army immediately reached the site and launched an operation to clear the area and neutralise the terrorists.

The police and army immediately reached the site and launched an operation to clear the area and neutralise the terrorists-AFP

Aerial surveillance of the operation was carried out by the army aviation division whereas armoured vehicles of security forces were also on site.

Peshawar Capital City Police Officer Tahir Khan and SSP Operations Sajjad Khan were leading the operation.

Intermittent gunfire and blasts could be heard from inside the premises throughout the operation.

Later, during the combing operation, authorities recovered suicide jackets, two Klashnikovs, pistols, and explosives from the possession of deceased terrorists.

The explosives and suicide jackets were disposed of later in a controlled explosion by the bomb disposal unit.

Nine arrested in search operation

Nine suspects were arrested during a joint operation by Police and security forces in the Badhber area of the city. 

Weapons recovered during search operation in Peshawar 

At least 45 houses were searched during the operation.

Different types of arms including pistols, 12-bore and 8mm rifles, sub-machine guns and a large quantity of ammo were recovered from the suspects.

'Fortunately, it was a weekend'

Speaking to Geo News, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG Salahuddin Khan Mehsud said fortunately not many students were present due to the long weekend, adding that police APCs evacuated around a dozen students from the hostel.

"Special units of the Pakistan Army were taking part in the operation [alongside police]," he said further.

University Road, the major artery of the city, was closed down for traffic after the incident and reopened around noon.

The injured were shifted to Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), located next to the directorate.

An emergency was declared in the hospital. The hospital's spokesperson, Dr Saud, initially said a total of 11 injured were brought to the hospital. 

He added that the injured included seven students, two military personnel, a police officer and a journalist. The wounded are said to have been injured in firing as well as hurting themselves while escaping the attack.

However, later, the casualties were said to be 11 dead and more than 30 injured, including security personnel.

'We were sleeping when it started'

An eyewitness told Geo News he and his colleagues were sleeping when the firing started, around 8:15AM.

The eyewitness, a student, said he and his colleagues ran as fast as they could but two of their colleagues were injured in the firing.

"We took them out with us and admitted them to the hospital," said Ariful Haq, adding that around 120 students live in the hostel but most had gone home due to the long weekend.

He added that the students who board at the premises are undertaking their diplomas in Agriculture Sciences and Veterinary Sciences.

Moreover, the premises houses offices of the Agriculture Directorate Extension, Agriculture Livestock Department, Peshawar Housing Authority and the office of the director general of agriculture.

All terrorists killed: ISPR

According to the army's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), all the terrorists were killed in the operation.

Eight students were evacuated from the hostel, the ISPR said in a statement.

The army said two of its injured were evacuated to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). 

US condemns attack

In a statement, US State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute.

She said we stand with the people and Government of Pakistan and offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.


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