LAHORE – Four members of the self-styled Islamic State group have been arrested during a successful operation in Lahore’s Iqbal Town 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.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 sympathizers including 20 core organizers during the countrywide operations.