'13 Daesh fighters' killed in southwestern Pakistan
Over a dozen suspected Daesh fighters have been killed during a security operation in southwestern Balochistan province that was aimed at recovery of a Chinese couple kidnapped last month, according to a senior government official on Sunday.
The three-day long operation was launched on Thursday based on an intelligence tip-off that an alleged armed group was holding two Chinese nationals on the outskirts of Mastung district, located some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the provincial capital Quetta, the official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.
The operation ended late Saturday night. Six suicide jackets and a huge cache of ammunition had also been allegedly seized during the raid, the official said.
However, the Chinese couple who were kidnapped last month from Quetta could not be recovered from the scene, he added.
Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti indirectly confirmed the operation, saying "any security operation in the province is conducted after our permission and consultation".
"Operations are underway in different parts of the province to recover the abducted Chinese nationals," Bugti told Anadolu Agency.
Islamabad in the recent past has denied the presence of Daesh footprints on its soil, saying the Middle Eastern terrorist network has no attraction for Pakistani youths.
The network, however, has claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks across Pakistan in recent months, including a suicide attack on a Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province earlier this year that killed over 80 people.