NOWSHERA - At least three terrorists and a cop were killed and three policemen sustained injuries when terrorists attacked a police patrolling van at Rashakai-Swabi Motorway section in Nowshera district on Saturday morning.

Police said security personnel were on routine patrolling when they were attacked near Karnal Sher Khan Interchange of Rashakai-Swabi Motorway section. Three terrorists riding motorcycles first hurled a hand-grenade on the police mobile and then opened indiscriminate fire.

Security force retaliated triggering a gunbattle which resulted in killing of three terrorists, a cop Nasir, besides injuring three others. The injured were identified as Fazil, Qamar Zia and driver Jamshed.

After the incident, a heavy contingent of police rushed to the crime scene and cordoned off the area. They also launched a search operation to apprehend the militants. The police recovered a hand-grenade, two Kalashnikovs and two pistols from the possession of terrorists. 

Talking to media, District Police Officer (DPO) Nowshera, Muhammad Hussain said they had recovered a national identity card and a card of Darul-uloom-e-Haqqania, Akora Khattak from one of the terrorists. The DPO said the terrorist had been identified as Saddam Hussain, resident of Kurram Agency. He said further investigation were in progress.

Later, funeral prayers of the deceased cop, Nasir, were offered at Police Lines Nowshera, which was attended by Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar, Imtiaz Altaf and other senior civil officials and general public of the district. Body of the cop was shifted to Baba Jee Kheshgi area of Nowsehra district, where he was buried at his ancestral graveyard. The police have registered an FIR into the incident and started investigation.

Agencies add: The area is close to the semi-autonomous tribal region where the military has launched a series of operations against Taliban and Qaeda-linked militants. The assailants were on two motorbikes, Hussain said. “They first lobbed a grenade and then opened fire on a police van parked near the road.”

“Police retaliated, killing two militants while others managed to flee,” he said.

Another police official Nasir Khan confirmed the casualties. “We have cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to arrest the fleeing militants,” he added. There was no claim of responsibility.

Pakistan suffers from near daily bomb and shooting attacks blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants. According to Islamabad, more than 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks.