Four suicide bombers who were trying to attack a Christian colony in Pakistan were killed early Friday during a gunfight with security forces outside the northwestern city of Peshawar, the army said.
Soldiers backed by army helicopters exchanged gunfire with militants in suicide vests who had tried to attack the colony near Warsak Dam, just north of Peshawar, the army said.
“Four suicide bombers with arms and ammunition entered the Christian Colony at Warsak after hitting a security guard at 5.50 am (00:50 GMT),” the Pakistan army said in a statement.
“Security forces promptly responded and surrounded the area. Exchange of fire took place and all four terrorists were killed,” it said, adding that two paramilitary soldiers, a policeman and two security guards were wounded in the gunfight.
The “situation is under control,” the statement said, adding that troops were now carrying out a house to house search of the area.
Discrimination and violence against religious minorities is commonplace in Pakistan, where Muslims account for more than 90 percent of the population.
The Pakistani Taliban in particular routinely target minority groups, and in 2011 gunned down Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who was federal minister for minority affairs.
A Taliban suicide bomber targeted Christians in a park in the eastern city of Lahore at Easter this year, killing more than 70 people, including many children.
Taliban militants stormed a school in Peshawar in December 2014, killing more than 150 people, mostly children, in Pakistan’s deadliest-ever terror attack.
The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.