At least 13 militants and seven soldiers, including an officer, were killed in overnight clashes in southwestern Pakistan, the army said on Thursday.
In a statement, Pakistan army said militants tried to storm security camps in Panjgur and Naushki areas of Balochistan province on Wednesday night, but the troops foiled their attempt. The militants were later killed in clearance operations.
“Intelligence agencies have intercepted communications between terrorists and their handlers in Afghanistan and India,” it added.
Mineral-rich Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest and poorest province. It is a key route for the $64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.
China is also developing the Gwadar port and is involved in other projects in the province.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in China to participate in the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympics, paid tribute to the soldiers.
“We salute our brave security forces who repulsed terrorist attacks against security forces’ camps in Panjgur & Naushki, Balochistan. The nation stands united behind our security forces who continue to give great sacrifices to protect us,” he said on Twitter.
The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack.
Photos of the killed terrorists, later released by Pakistan army, suggested they were using advanced weaponry and equipment, including US-made M-16 and 7D rifles, foreign-manufactured night-vision devices.
*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid
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