Authorities in Pakistan are reported to have arrested five suspected Islamic State operatives who were planning terrorist attacks in Karachi using explosives-laden unmanned aircraft, or drones.
A university professor is among the suspects whom counterterrorism forces detained during an early Monday raid in the southern port city, Pakistan's largest and commercial capital, according to local media.
Provincial counterterrorism officials have revealed few details of what they described as an intelligence-based operation and said the professor was the main suspect. They declined to give his name.
The professor is said to be from the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, the capital of the most populous Pakistani province of Punjab. One of his female relatives is also among the detainees, reports said.
Government officials were not available immediately to comment on the reported arrests.
Loyalists of the Syria-based terrorist group have taken credit for deadly terrorist attacks in Pakistan in recent months. They included the suicide bombing in February of a crowded Sufi shrine in the province of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital city.
The blast killed around 90 people and wounded hundreds more, with IS's global media wing Amaq news agency claiming responsibly for the carnage.
Pakistani forces have detained dozens of suspected IS militants during raids across the country but officials insist there is no “organized presence” of the terrorist group in Pakistan.
Security officials have acknowledged that IS, through social media, has been trying to approach and recruit students in Pakistani educational institutions.
Last month, Pakistani counterterrorism forces raided a suspected IS hideout in Lahore and detained a would-be female suicide bomber, Noreen Leghari.
A medical college student, Leghari later said in a video confession that she was getting ready to attack a Christian place of worship in the city during Easter celebrations just before she was captured. An IS operative had approached her through social media and prepared her for the mission, she added.