Sheikhupura - Seven extremists were killed in a shootout between Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials and militants as police raided the group suspected of launching attacks on security posts near Railway Crossing Barrianwala in the limits of Bhiki Police Station, some 20 km away from here, in the wee hours of Sunday.

However, three militants managed to escape.

The CTD team, on a tip-off that suspects had holed up in a house, laid siege to the hideout. The suspects opened fire on security forces and in retaliation seven terrorists were killed while three escaped.

However, area people did not confirm the incident.

The CTD claimed that the seven outlaws were killed by the firing of their own colleagues. The identity of the dead could not be ascertained so far as their bodies were still lying in city mortuary without autopsy under strict security.

The CTD claimed to have recovered 5 kg explosive material, three motorcycles, three Kalashnikovs, two detonators, four pistols with hundreds of cartridges, 200 AK rifles cartridges. Further investigation was underway.

Agencies add: Gunfire erupted between police and 10 suspected militants early Sunday morning in a house where the group was holed up.

Police said the seven dead were killed by bullets from their own men.

“When the firing stopped, seven terrorists were found dead by the firing of their own accomplices and the remaining escaped in the darkness of the night,” a police statement said.

Police said the militants belonged to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the banned sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

They were accused of planning attacks on security posts and law enforcement agencies in Punjab.

Rights activists have blamed police for staging raids to kill suspects they fear could be freed if tried in a court.

Government launched a countrywide campaign against militancy called the National Action Plan in 2015 after a deadly Taliban attack on a Peshawar school killed more than 150 people, mostly children.