ISLAMABAD - Authorities in Pakistan said Wednesday that security forces in separate raids have captured a group of five senior militants working for al-Qaida and Islamic State terrorist networks out of Karachi.
The detainees included bomb-making experts, trained suicide bombers and an “al-Qaida recruiter" for Pakistan, said Colonel Qaisar Khan, a spokesman for the provincial paramilitary force called Rangers.
Security forces have also seized suicide vests, weapons and ammunition from their possession, he told reporters in Karachi. The militants, Khan said, have been plotting attacks on religious minorities, Rangers and police personnel in the port city, Pakistan's largest and commercial hub.
An initial probe has established the men’s “links and footprints with both al-Qaida and Daesh,” he added.
Some of the detainees received training in al-Qaida-run camps in North Waziristan and neighboring Afghanistan in 2013 before moving and basing themselves in Karachi, the spokesman asserted.
Al-Qaida operatives have for years used volatile Pakistani areas, including the Waziristan tribal district, as their sanctuaries, though officials insist the terrorism infrastructure has been dismantled by sustained counterterrorism military operations.
Pakistani authorities deny an "organized" presence of IS in the country and allege that loyalists of the Middle East-based terrorist groups are staging attacks in Pakistan from sanctuaries inside “ungoverned” border areas of neighboring Afghanistan.