At least eight militants of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, Ansar-ul-Sharia, have been killed in a pre-dawn operation in the port city of Karachi in southern Pakistan, security officials said on Sunday.
A spokesman for Rangers, a paramilitary force, said in a statement that Rangers and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) forces raided a militant hideout in the Baldia Town area in Karachi -- the country's commercial capital and most populous city -- and killed eight militants.
"Five militants were killed on the spot while three others were injured," said the statement, adding the wounded died on their way to the hospital.
The statement also said three security personnel were also injured during the exchange of gunfire.
The authorities identified Sheharyar-ud Din, also known as Abdullah Hashmi, a key commander of Ansar-ul-Sharia in Karachi, among the deceased militants. A cache of explosives, weapons was also discovered.
Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan (ASP), the al-Qaeda inspired militant group, recently surfaced in the port city of Karachi when the group reportedly carried out an assassination attempt on Khawaja Izharul Hassan, opposition leader in the provincial Sindh Assembly, on Sunday.
By Islamuddin Sajid in Islamabad