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Peshawar: At least four Pakistani Army soldiers were killed and three others injured followed an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to police on Saturday. The incident occurred late on Friday evening when the security forces were on patrolling duty in Sra Bangla and Tarkhanan area of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

At least four Pakistan Army soldiers were killed and three others were injured in the blast triggered by the improvised explosive device. The injured were immediately shifted to hospital and admitted and security forces rushed to the site and cordoned off the entire area, according to the police. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The slain troops were identified as Zubair, Ijaz, Faisal and Asif whereas the injured troops were Qadir, Najeeb and Rahman,” said the police, which has launched an investigation to hunt the fleeing culprits involved in the bombing. This came after the Pakistan Army launched an operation on Monday and killed 23 militants affiliated with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), losing seven soldiers in the process.

The fighting took place on Sunday and Monday as the security forces increased pressure on the rebels affiliated with the TTP, which has been allegedly operating out of Afghanistan, said a statement issued by the media wing of the Pakistan Army. An intelligence-based operation was conducted on Sunday in the Hassan Khel area near Peshawar in which six terrorists were killed and multiple hideouts were busted, the statement read.

Pakistan saw at least 245 terror attacks, primarily in the violence-prone Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, during the first quarter of 2024 that resulted in 432 deaths and 370 injuries among civilians, security personnel and rebels, according to a think tank report. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan accounted for 86 per cent of the attacks and 92 per cent of the deaths.

Terror attacks in Pakistan have surged once again following a brief lull in March, as the country experienced 77 verifiable attacks in April, according to a security assessment report by the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). Unsurprisingly, the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bore the brunt, as 73 per cent of the total number of militant attacks took place here.

Additionally, Peshawar faced four attacks while Swat, Swabi, Charsadda, Shangla, and Battagram experienced one attack each. The southern districts of Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Bannu, and Tank were the most affected, with D.I. Khan and Lakki Marwat facing seven terror attacks each, Bannu facing six, and Tank experiencing two attacks.

(with inputs from PTI)

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