ISLAMABAD — Gunmen killed one police officer and wounded another during an overnight search operation for suspects linked to the torching of nearly a dozen schools in northern Pakistan, police said Sunday.

Sanaullah Abbasi, police chief in Gilgit-Baltistan, said that one suspect was killed in the gunbattle and another 17 have been arrested in the ongoing operation.

Suspected militants set fire to 11 girls' or co-ed schools on Friday. Faizullah Faraq, a government spokesman, said the schools would be restored before classes resume in the last week of August.

Later on Sunday, gunmen opened fire on the vehicle of a judge who was heading to the funeral of the slain police officer. The judge was unharmed, said police officer Abdul Wakil.

Pakistan has struggled to combat religious extremism in the nearly two decades since the September 11 attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. In recent years militant groups have regularly attacked security forces and religious minorities.