(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
LAHORE, Pakistan - Pakistani police said on Saturday 10 militants from Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, died in a gun battle in Lahore, including a key facilitator of a February blast that left 13 people dead.
The clash came just days after a suicide attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban on an army census team that killed at least six people and wounded 18 in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.
Scores of people have been killed since the beginning of the year in a series of attacks that have dashed hopes of an end to the violence of recent years and stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government to improve security.
Police said that they were taking five militants to recover weapons and explosives on Lahore's outskirts early on Saturday morning when they were attacked by a group of about 9 militants who freed the captives.
Police called for reinforcements and encircled the area, challenging the militants to surrender.
"A gun battle ensued. When firing stopped 10 militants were found dead by the firing of their fleeing accomplices," a spokesman for the Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab said in a statement.