Pakistani counterterrorism police say they have killed six suspected members of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Taliban faction that has recently launched a renewed campaign of violence.
Police said the militants were killed late on February 15 after security forces surrounded their hideout in the city of Multan after receiving intelligence reports that they were planning a terrorist attack.
They say the militants started shooting and throwing explosives at the raiding party when police ordered them to surrender.
Authorities said three or four suspects escaped during the battle. Two hand grenades, two automatic rifles, and two pistols were recovered in the raid.
A wave of bomb attacks across Pakistan by militant factions has shattered a period of relative quiet in the country -- including an Islamic State suicide bombing on a Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan on February 16 that killed at least 72.
On February 13, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Lahore that killed 13 people and wounded more than 80, saying it was the start of a new campaign of violence against the government, security forces, the judiciary, and secular political parties.
Also on February 16, the military said an improvised-explosive device hit an army convoy, killing three soldiers and wounding two others in Balochistan Province. No group claimed responsibility for that attack.