Nine Daesh militants killed in southwest Pakistan raid

Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb blast in Quetta on May 13, 2019. Security forces acted after a sudden surge in militant assaults across Pakistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, killing nine Daesh militants in Balochistan on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019

Nine Daesh militants killed in southwest Pakistan raid

  • Security forces acted on intelligence reports of a Daesh hideout in the Mastung district
  • Several Islamist militant and separatist groups are fighting the country's central government in Balochistan

QUETTA: Pakistani security forces killed nine Daesh militants during an hours-long raid near Quetta in the restive southwest of the country that has been hit by repeated jihadist attacks this month, officials said on Thursday.
Four members of the security forces were wounded in the operation, which started early on Thursday morning in a mountainous area called Qabu Koh-e-Mehran in the Mastung district, 29 miles (47 km) from Quetta city.
“Nine bodies (of Daesh militants) have been brought to hospital from Mastung,” Waseem Baig, a spokesman for Civil Hospital Quetta, told Reuters.
Security forces acted after a sudden surge in militant assaults across Pakistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Five police were killed in the latest attack, on Monday night in Quetta, which was claimed by Daesh.
“We acted on intelligence reports of a Daesh hideout,” a senior official of the Counter Terrorism Department of Balochistan police told Reuters, requesting anonymity for security reasons.
“A sizable cache of arms and ammunition including rocket launchers, several suicide vests were also recovered during the raid.”
Various Islamist militant groups as well as separatists fighting the central government are active in mineral-rich Balochistan, with frequent attacks on gas and transport infrastructure and security posts.
On Saturday, the Balochistan Liberation Army, which seeks greater autonomy for Pakistan’s poorest province, claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel in the Indian Ocean port of Gwadar, one of the focal points of the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor.


Minister rejects report suggesting soybean dust caused Karachi toxic gas deaths

Updated 20 February 2020

Minister rejects report suggesting soybean dust caused Karachi toxic gas deaths

  • 14 people have died since Sunday night, 350 have been hospitalized
  • Karachi University experts earlier identified soybean dust as possible cause of the deaths

KARACHI: Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi on Wednesday rejected a university report that said soybean dust from a cargo ship was a likely cause of fatal poisoning that has claimed the lives of 14 people in Karachi since Sunday.
”How come the dust from the ship travels over a kilometer and only affects people in a specific area called Jungle Shah and does not affect anyone else?” the minister told Arab News. “I reject the report,” he said, adding that it was “questionable.”
“Why the dust from soybeans did not affect the crew of the ship and 400+ laborers who were busy offloading the cargo,” Zaidi argued and said forensic investigations were underway to determine the cause of the poisoning. “Will not speculate anything before we see all the reports. This is a scientific forensic investigation.”
Provincial authorities and Karachi University experts said on Tuesday said that soybean dust was the likely cause of the toxic gas that killed 14 and left over 350 people sick.
“Preliminary report has been submitted by experts at Khi (Karachi) Uni (university) which suggests that Kiamari incident happened due to over exposure of soybean dust which is known to have also caused similar incidents in other parts of the world,” Murtaza Wahab, spokesperson of the Sindh government tweeted late Tuesday.
The report by the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) said the deaths were likely due to soybean dust exposure.
“The symptoms due to exposure to soybean dust (aeroallergens) may be considered as the possible cause,” the report said.
Earlier, a government source told Arab News that the incident occurred following the unloading of soybeans on Saturday evening at berth 12 of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) after MV Hercules arrived from the US. The unloading created dust which made its way toward Jackson area of Karachi’s Kiamari municipality.
According to sources, MV Hercules was fumigated on Jan. 8 at Cargill grain reserve Los Angeles, US with 56-degree aluminum phosphide.
Repeated exposure to the substance may damage the lungs, kidneys and liver, the sources said, adding that “it is likely that exposure to particles of aluminum phosphide may have created problems for individuals passing by at that time and such unfortunate incident.”