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Pakistan's Army Kills Commander Of Islamist Militant Group In Balochistan

Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa meets with Hazara leaders in Quetta.
Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa meets with Hazara leaders in Quetta.

Pakistan's military has killed a commander of the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) along with two other militants in a raid in the southwestern province of Balochistan, the army says.

A military intelligence officer was killed and four other soldiers wounded during the operation targeting Salman Badeni, the Balochistan region chief of LeJ, on the outskirts of the provincial capital Quetta, the army said in a statement on May 17.

Badeni was "involved in killings of over 100 innocent personnel of Hazara community and police," it said.

The military released pictures of a militant laying dead on the ground and spattered with blood, along with photos of ammunition and what appears to be bomb-making material.

LeJ, a group that subscribes to a hard-line school of Islam, considers Shi'a apostates and has carried out scores of bloody bomb and gun attacks in Balochistan over the past two decades, most of them aimed at the Shi'ite Hazara community.

Earlier this month, members of the Hazara community went on a hunger strike in Quetta to protest a recent spate of killings targeting them and to demand greater protection.

More than 1,500 Hazaras have been killed in the province in recent years, according to Abdul Khaliq Hazara, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party.

The Hazaras called off the protest after meeting with Pakistan's powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who vowed greater protection and promised those targeting Hazaras "shall suffer twice as much."

Over the past couple of years, Islamic State militants have also targeted the Hazara community in Balochistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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