PESHAWAR: Security personnel arrested at least nine suspects during a pre-dawn search operation conducted in the outskirts of the provincial capital on Saturday, as police registered an FIR [First Information Report] and launched an investigation into Friday’s terrorist attack on the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
Police sources said that a large number of law enforcement personnel took part in the raids conducted in Badhber, Telaband and other areas outside Peshawar. Various types of arms were recovered from the arrested suspects including three pistols, 8mm rifles, 12-bore rifles, sub-machine guns (SMG) and a large quantity of ammunition. The arrested suspects have been shifted to a police station and are being interrogated. They added that at least 45 houses were searched during the operation.
The operation came a day after three terrorists dressed in burkas stormed the hostel of Peshawar’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), killing nine people and injuring 37. The victims were identified as Bilal Ahmad, Amin Jan, Sarzamin, Muhammad Wasim, Abdus Sadiq, Qasim Ali Shah, Bilal Khairul Bashar, Bilal Mohammad Arif and Malik Abdul Waheed.
The attack was claimed by the banned terror outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Both police and military officials said the attackers had been coordinating with handlers based in Afghanistan.
According to reports, most of the slain students belonged to far-flung areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA and remained in the hostel despite it being a holiday on Friday.
KP Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has registered an FIR of the deadly attack against unknown persons on the complaint of Station House Officer (SHO) Ahmedullah Khan on charges including terrorism, murder, attempted murder and encounter.
According to the FIR, three attackers wearing burqas reached the main gate of the institute in a rickshaw (vehicle number BG-5759).
“They (the attackers) first targeted and shot dead the watchman of the institute at the main gate and entered the building,” the FIR read.
Soon after the attack began, police and army personnel reached the site and engaged the terrorists, the report said, adding that the exchange of fire between the attackers and police lasted two hours.
The FIR said police and security forces cleared the building by shooting the attackers dead and recovering their bodies from different rooms of the hostel. It added that during the search operation of the hostel and the institute, police also recovered heavy weapons, including hand grenades.
After registering the FIR, the CTD police have started investigating the attack and sent DNA samples from the bodies of the terrorists killed during the clean-up operation for identification.