SHEIKHUPURA - The Counter Terrorism Department Saturday claimed to have thwarted a major terror plot ahead of Muharram and killed five terrorists including Kala Qari, commander of a banned militant organisation having links with al-Qaeda.

The law enforcement personnel conducted a raid at around 2am on a tip-off regarding presence of terrorists and a huge cache of arms at a farmhouse near Khanpur canal, some 17-km from Sheikhpura city.

A spokesman of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab said the police team from Lahore was also carrying along a terrorist Kashif alias Kashi, who was arrested from Abbotabad, to identify the hideout near village Mallian, in Ferozwala tehsil.

When the team reached near a railway crossing in the precincts of Factory area police station, they were attacked by the colleagues of the arrested militant in an apparent bid to get him freed.

In retaliation by the CTD personnel, five terrorists including Kala Qari, Umar Farooq, Qari Naveed, Imran and Kashif were killed while three militants fled the scene taking advantage of darkness, the spokesman said.

The CTD also claimed recovery of arms and ammunition including two Kalashnikov assault rifles, two pistols and a huge amount of explosive material were recovered from their custody.

According to sources, ringleader Kala Qari was involved in major terror incidents including assassination of former minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and chief surgeon Brigardier Mushtaq. He was also involved in attacks on ex-minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Nato vehicles near Rawat and Tarnol.

Umar Farooq was a sniper trainer, according to security sources.

The CTD said it was informed by the intelligence agencies that this group was planning major attacks in Lahore and Sheikhpura in Muharram.

The bodies of the dead militants were taken to DHQ Sheikhpura for post-mortem.

TERRORIST SHOT DEAD IN

PESHAWAR

INP: A wanted terrorist of a banned outfit was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces here on Saturday.

The security forces personnel and intelligence men responding to a report conducted an operation against the militants in Regi area of Peshawar during which exchange of fire took place between the security forces and the terrorist.

In the crossfiring the terrorist, hailing from district Hangu, was killed. Arms were recovered from his possession.