“We thought we would never see each other again,” said Zulfikar Ali as he recounted the hours that followed after a fierce gun battle broke out between terrorists and security forces here early Friday.
There was heavy firing and grenade explosions, and little chance of getting out alive said the 34-year-old, who hid in the corner of his house and his family as bullets and splinters hit walls and vehicles outside.
It was amid this terrifying situation that a team of the army entered the house and, under heavy protection, started rescuing every member.
“The team took us to a safe place, and we are alive today,” said Ali, claiming that the gunbattle broke out in the densely populated Jalalabad area sometime after 4 am.
According to officials, the gunbattle, in which two terrorists — part of a suicide squad from Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed — were killed, lasted about six hours with sanitization operations still on in the area.
“A loud explosion in the compound of the house woke us up. This was followed by the loud noise of firing automatic rifles and more explosions,” said Ali.
Masarat Hussain, another resident, said, “We had woke up for Sahar (morning meals during Roza in the month of Ramzan) when firing, and blasts rattle us.” He recalled the doors and windows were closed, and the sound outside was terrifying.
After being woken up by the grenade blast, Ali said that he immediately called the local police station house officer for help and rescue.
He said they responded in time and showed his house’s compound walls riddled with bullets.
“We have never seen this happening. We do not want to see this again. I am thankful for the army from the core of my heart. They brought us out of the house,” Ali said.
The terrorists entered the Jalalabad locality after lobbing a grenade and firing at a bus carrying 15 CISF personnel around 4.25 am near the Chaddha camp area, killing an assistant sub-inspector injuring two others.
Security forces zeroed in on the house where the terrorists hid and forced them into an abandoned bathroom, officials said, adding that they were neutralized with heavy fire and grenade hits.