KARACHI - The Counter Terrorism Department of Sindh police claimed to have arrested nine hardcore alleged terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The CTD officials claimed that the terrorist arrested have planned to attack the 9th and 10th processions of Muharram while recovered bombs and other arms and ammunitions from them.

The CTD team raided their hideout at North Karachi where militants were conducting a meeting to carryout major terror activities during Muharram by carrying out bomb blasts, suicide bombings and target killings,” said CTD in-charge Raja Omar Khattab while holding a press conference at his office on Friday afternoon.

The police managed to track-down the group trying to sabotage the peace of the city and conducted an overnight raid at their hideout where militants attacked the police by lobbing grenades and resorting indiscriminate fire at the CTD personnel. Police tried to confine the militants inside their hideout while fired teargas during retaliation and managed to arrest them,” explained Khattab.

The arrested militants included AQIS chief for Karachi chapter Faizur Rehman alias Abdullah alias Daniyal, his deputy Mustafa alias Shahzad, AQIS Karachi chapter target killer Afroze alias Lambu, member AQIS Ibrahim alias Sajid, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Orangi Town based commander Saeed alias Kalu alias Abbas alias Farrukh Abbas, his two comrades – Ahmed Sadiq alias Zeeshan, Furqan Alam alias Zeeshan and two militants of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, namely Zainul Abideen alias Zain and Abdul Bari.

Interestingly, the arrested Karachi chapter chief of AQIS was earlier arrested along with three of his companions in 2010 while making bombs but he was later released on bail while his companion, namely Maulvi Ishtiaq was killed in Afghanistan last year. While talking about the Karachi airport attack, Khattab said that two of the terrorists killed by security forces during attack at airport in Karachi belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Orangi Town network.

“Currently, AQIS and LeJ are jointly conducting operations in Orangi Town and its surroundings,” explained Khattab. The AQIS is being operated from Afghanistan. The former members of the banned Harkatul Mujahideen al-Almi – Naseem Bhai alias Hanif Bhai and Kamran alias Atif are operating the AQIS, adding that LeJ has currently no leadership and the organisation is facing financial crisis.

Khattab further said that the AQIS is also facing financial crisis and also there is a communication gap between the leadership in Afghanistan and operatives in Karachi. Khattab said that the arrested militants confessed that the ten militants killed during attack at Karachi airport belonged to Karachi, however, their bodies would be exhumed for DNA tests after the court orders.

The arrested militants were also confessed that they had a plan to target the Majalis and Imambargahs in district central. They have had also plan to carry out suicide bombings while AQIS has produced the suicide bombers.

Khattab said that would be suicide bomber Mehmood belonged to Burma and a resident of Korangi locality was ready to carry out blast.

The arrested militants had also planned to attack the people belonging to the Shia community and Bohri community after the Muharram.

The CTD officials also claim to have recovered a suicide jacket ready to go off, four concrete block bombs, four hand grenades, 18, 9mm pistols and a laptop.  Khattab said that the arrested militants had also been involved in bomb blasts and target killings of workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement including MQM’s MPA Manzar Imam and workers of the Sunni Tehreek in the past in Karachi. The cases against them were registered and further investigation was underway.