Sunday, 20 November 2016

ISIS recruitment cell busted in Pakistan’s Lahore

Four ISIS men arrested in Lahore raid

September 17, 2016

LAHORE -  Four members of the self-styled Islamic State group have been arrested during a successful operation in Lahore’s Iqbal Town, a counter official told The Nation yesterday.
The security and law enforcement agencies jointly conducted the raid on Ya-Rasool-Ullah Park located near Moon Market in Iqbal Town on a tip off, he said. The official confirmed the arrests but did not mention further details because of security reasons. It was not clear yet how the suspects were identified as affiliated with the Islamic State group.
A spokesperson for the Punjab’s counter terrorism department said the militants were plotting large-scale terror attacks to target government installations and senior officials in Lahore. “A big terrorism plan of DAESH (has been) foiled. The terrorists had planned to kill officials on a large scale,” the spokesperson said while referring to the Middle-East based Islamic State group. The counter terror operatives also seized 1600 gram explosives, 8 safety fuse, and four non-electric detonators from their possession.
The terror suspects were named by the CTD as Syed Abdul Alam, Muhammad Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Nisar Ahmed, and Tassawar Amin. They were shifted to an unknown facility for further interrogation. According to officials, the raid was conducted near Lahore’s leading Moon Market, where more than 60 people mostly women and children had been killed in twin suicide blasts in December 2009.

Perhaps, it was for the first time that the Punjab’s counter terrorism department officially named the terrorists as members of the Deash, which controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria. “A team of Lahore CTD and officers of a sensitive agency jointly got a source information that terrorists belonging to proscribed organization DAESH were planning to attack government installations in Lahore and (they) were about to launch the attack,” the spokesman says.
The move comes just a few weeks after Pakistan Army declared that it had foiled Islamic State’s attempts to establish operations in the country. According to the military spokesman, they had arrested more than 300 militants and their sympathisers including 20 core organisers during the countrywide operations.

In November 2014, Lahore police had launched a manhunt to track down elements behind an “ISIS campaign” after discovering distribution of pamphlets and display of posters on the boundary walls and roadside poles in some parts of the city. Later, the provincial police officer had denied the presence of the terror outfit in the Punjab province stating that there was no such “organized group” operating in the province. In early August, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban having links with ISIS, claimed the responsibility for the attack on lawyers and journalists in Quetta. More than 70 people mostly lawyers died in the horrific blast that ripped through the emergency ward of the civil hospital.

The same group was behind the deadliest attack in the country so far this year; the suicide attack in a crowded Lahore park that killed 75 people on Easter Sunday in March. After claiming responsibility for the Gulshan-i-Iqbal park blast, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar declared the start of a new terror campaign, “Sound of Thunder”. The group posted an Urdu communiqué on its Facebook page early this year claiming that Christians were the prime target. The post also carried a photo of the bomber, identifying him as Salahuddin Khorasani. Security experts say they believe the Quetta blast was identical to Lahore attack. “The modus operandi was the same. Again, they selected a soft target. They used lethal combination (of explosives) to inflict maximum casualties.”

ISIS recruitment cell busted in Pakistan’s Lahore

Published Nov 20, 2016, 5:07 pm IST

Lahore: A nine-member Islamic State cell that was recruiting and transporting people to Syria and Afghanistan has been busted in Lahore, police said. The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab said it busted a cell of the militant Islamic State (IS) group operating in Lahore and arrested nine people.

The cell was recruiting and transporting new members to Syria and Afghanistan. The cell had already managed to send nine recruits to Syria. After the arrest of these nine people, the total number of IS group members who have been arrested in different parts of Punjab in recent months reached 45.

According to the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police, the nine members of the IS group were arrested in a raid in Cantonment area last week. Those arrested, included Lahore IS chief Nabil Ahmed alias Abu Abdullah.

"The cell was not only recruiting militants but also radicalising youths and transporting them, along with their families, to Syria or Afghanistan. It was also allegedly working to develop its capacity to establish organisational structure of IS in Pakistan," the CTD said.
The group was also working on a plan to accelerate its activities in Pakistan after announcing a 'caliphate' in the country.

According to a CTD official, those arrested were also involved in robbing banks and looting shrines and houses of the Shia and Ahmadi community members to raise funds for militant activities. "The CTD has identified some IS recruits, including some families based in Lahore and their handlers in Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey," the official said, adding that the recruits, who were planning to leave for Syria and Afghanistan, had already sold their property to bear the transportation expenses.

During the raid on IS Lahore chief Nabil's house, the CTD team recovered IS literature, video clips, pamphlets and stickers containing content against the Pakistan Army, besides laptops and mobile phones used by the cell's members. The official said Qari Abid, Nabeel's uncle, has been living in Syria for more than a year where he joined the IS.
"The Pakistanis contacting the IS leadership in Syria for joining the group were referred to Qari Abid. Later, Abid directed them to contact his nephew, Nabil in Lahore," he said.
The CTD said the recruits had to take the oath of allegiance to self-proclaimed 'caliphate' of Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi. Then they would be given a choice to either go to Afghanistan or Syria.

It said Nabil was responsible for preparation of the recruits' travel documents. Those willing to go to Syria were first taken to Iran and then to Turkey. They were later moved to Syria from Turkey.

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