ISLAMABAD - Islamic State militants have claimed the assassination of three Pakistan military personnel in the country’s northwestern city of Peshawar.
Provincial authorities say that the slain soldiers were traveling on a narrow road in the Khazana area Sunday when armed motorcyclists ambushed their vehicle.
Authorities have launched an investigation and several suspects have also been taken into custody in connection with the fatal attack.
A website linked to IS claimed responsibly for what appears to be the first assault on the powerful Pakistan military by the Middle East-based group.
IS, which controls areas in Syria and Iraq, has claimed several other attacks around the country since launching its extremist activities in the region early last year.
Sunday’s attack came days after the military announced it has “forestalled” IS expansion into Pakistan and arrested more than 300 of its operatives, including Syrians and Afghans.
"They tried to make an ingress, and they failed and they have been apprehended so far,” according to the army spokesman, Lieutenant General Asiam Bajaw.
He told reporters earlier this month the detainees were plotting attacks on government, diplomatic and civilians targets.
Meanwhile, Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA), a breakaway faction of the anti-state Pakistani Taliban, has also claimed it was behind the violence. VOA could not immediately verify either claims.
The attack took place in an area of Peshawar that is close to the volatile Mohmand Agency, one of the seven semiautonomous tribal districts on the Afghan border.
On Friday, a suicide blast ripped through a crowded mosque in Mohmand, killing more than 30 people and wounding dozens others.
JuA claimed it carried out the bloodshed.
Last month, the United States designated JuA a global terrorist organization, saying the group has staged multiple attacks on civilians, religious minorities, military personnel and law enforcement, and was responsible for the killing of two Pakistani employees of the U.S. consulate in Peshawar in early March.
Pakistani officials allege the terrorist group operates out of Afghan border areas and receives support from the intelligence agency of the neighboring country, charges Kabul denies.