Pakistani paramilitary troops have killed eight militants from a group which tried to assassinate an opposition politician in Karachi, officials said Sunday.
The Pakistan Rangers staged a joint raid with counter-terrorism officers in the Raees Goth neighbourhood overnight after intelligence information about the presence of militants there, the Rangers' spokesman for Sindh province, Major Qambar Raza, told AFP.
"After an intense exchange of fire five terrorists were killed on the spot, while three others who were captured wounded later died in hospital," he said.
He said two militants whose identity has been established belonged to a newly formed group called Ansar-ul-Sharia which was involved in the attempt to assassinate opposition politician Khawaja Izharul Hassan from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in September.
Hassan was unhurt but the group killed a 10-year-old boy and a guard and wounded four others in the shootout last month.
Ansar-ul-Sharia chief Sheharyar-ud Din -- also known as Abdullah Hashmi -- was among those killed in the overnight raid, Raza said, describing him as the mastermind of the assassination bid.
A senior police official confirmed the raid and details.
Karachi, Pakistan's largest city with more than 14 million inhabitants and a major business and industrial hub, is rife with political, sectarian and ethnic militancy.
A crackdown in the city by security forces in recent years has brought a lull in violence, but scattered attacks still take place.