Landi Kotal: Six militants killed in ‘safe house’ blast
LANDI KOTAL: Six militants were killed and 15 others injured after explosives stored in one of their ‘safe houses’ in Bara sub-division blew up on Monday. According to a press release issued by Political Agent of the Khyber Agency Tariq Hayat, five people were killed in the blast that took place at about 4am in a building in the Qambarkhel area. “An inquiry is being conducted … security forces did not fire on the building. A bomb disposal team has been sent to determine the cause of the explosion.”
Sources said that the building belonged to the Haji Namdar group and was being used as a private jail. Haji Namdar, who is chief of the Amr Bil Maroof wa Nahi Anil Munkir, told journalists at Bar Qambarkhel that his ‘base’ in the Bara area had been “hit by a guided missile fired by Nato forces from across the border”. He said that his fighters were being targeted because they were waging war against “enemies of Islam”.
But officials of the political administration refuted the allegation and insisted that it was an accidental explosion of the explosive material storied in the building. Officials also said the explosion was not the result of the ongoing operation.
Haji Namdar’s claims about missile attack could not be independently verified. No shrapnel or projectile fragments were produced. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesman Maulvi Mohammad Umar also blamed Nato forces for the attack and vowed to avenge the killing of their colleagues. He said the Tehrik would “respond with equal force against the military operation in the tribal area”.
Two women were among the injured and their condition was stated to be critical. All the injured were later taken to hospitals in Bara and Peshawar. Meanwhile, Bara tehsil remained peaceful and paramilitary forces confined their activity to patrolling major roads and guarding important posts. Curfew was relaxed on Monday and some shops opened in the Bara bazaar.
Lashkar-i-Islam chief Mangal Bagh condemned the military operation through his illegal FM radio station and called for its immediate halt. He denied reports that his group had links with ‘jihadi’ organisation and insisted that his agenda was “only to purge the Khyber Agency from anti-social elements and implementing pure Shariat”.