The security forces on Thursday killed nine Islamic State militants during an hours-long raid near Quetta in the restive southwest of the country that has been hit by repeated militant attacks this month, officials said.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, 47 kilometres from Quetta city. “Nine bodies (of Islamic State militants) have been brought to hospital from Mastung,” Waseem Baig, a spokesman for the Civil Hospital Quetta, told a foreign news agency. Security forces acted after a sudden surge in militant assaults across Pakistan during the holy month of Ramazan. Five policemen were killed in the latest attack, on Monday night in Quetta, which was claimed by the Islamic State. “We acted on intelligence reports of a Daesh hideout,” a senior official of the Counter Terrorism Department of Balochistan Police said, requesting anonymity for security reasons, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.“A sizable cache of arms and ammunition, including rocket launchers, and several suicide vests were also recovered during the raid.” Various militant groups as well as separatists fighting the central government are active in Baluchistan, with frequent attacks on gas and transport infrastructure and security posts. On Saturday, the Balochistan Liberation Army, which seeks greater autonomy for the 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.