LAHORE: Four ISIS terrorists have been killed in an encounter with the security forces in Pakistan's Punjab province, officials said on Sunday.
The militants were tasked by the Daish's (ISIS) top leadership to attack places of worship for minority Shias in Bahawalpur, which is around 400 km from provincial capital Lahore, to start sectarian conflict in the country, officials said.
In a statement, the Punjab Police's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) said they launched an intelligence-based operation along with the local intelligence agencies.
"A big and deadly terrorism plan has been defeated. Four terrorists belonging to the Daish were killed in the operation," the CTD said.
According to intelligence inputs, seven ISIS terrorists were hiding in Zakhira Jungle near Azam Chowk Bahawalpur.
They were armed with explosives and heavy weaponry.
"On this information, the CTD Multan team, in collaboration with intelligence agencies, raided the hideout late on Saturday night and demanded the terrorists surrender. Instead, they started indiscriminate firing," the CTD said.
The killed terrorists were identified as Aman Ullah, Abdul Jabar, Rehman Ali and Aleem.
Three of their accomplices escaped in the dark.
Eleven hand grenades, three rifles, one pistol and ammunition have been recovered from the crime scene.
Search is on for the escaped terrorists, while a bomb disposal unit has been called to inspect the area, the CTD said.
According initial reports, the department said, "The four were very dangerous terrorists who started with banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) but later joined Daish. They came from south Punjab to start sectarian terrorism on the directives of the Daish leadership."
On Tuesday last, the CTD had arrested two ISIS terrorists who were planning to attack a 'sensitive' installation in Bahawalnagar in Punjab, around 400 kms from Lahore.
The Pakistani government denies presence of the ISIS on its soil but often security agencies nab terrorists affiliated to this banned militant group.