KARACHI: The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed on Monday to have unearthed another 'sleeper cell' of a banned militant outfit operating in Karachi.
The sleeper cell was established in 2014 by its ameer, chief of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) Naeem Bukhari, who was arrested by intelligence agencies last year along with his comrades. As per their criminal record, the sleeper cell's members have been involved in terror activities in Karachi since 2010 and have been involved in at least 19 terrorism cases.
The incharge of the sleeper cell was killed while four of its members were apprehended during a pre-dawn raid in the outskirts of the metropolis on Monday. The officials claimed to have recovered a huge cache of arms and explosives, including a suicide jacket, and Jihadi literature.
The raid was conducted on a house, which was the hideout of the militants, in Mehran Town located in Korangi. The militants resorted to indiscriminate firing, when the CTD police reached the site. In retaliatory fire by the police, one suspected militant was killed and four others were apprehended.
LeJ's Karachi chief arrested
The militant who was shot dead during the raid was later identified as Dildar alias Chacha, who was the incharge of the sleeper cell. He was the father-in-law of Ishaq Bobby, who was arrested along with his companion, Asim Capri, by the CTD police in November 2016. Bobby has been charged with the murder of Qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri and at least 27 other high-profile terrorism cases.
"Reports about major terror activities in Karachi were being received since the last few months. Even we got information about the existence of sleeper cells of banned jihadi and sectarian outfits," said the newly appointed CTD DIG Amir Farooqui at a press conference at CTD Civil Line on Monday.
"Those groups were waiting for [directives] from their leadership to carry out terrorist activities, especially since the court has awarded LeJ chief and his companions death sentences while their comrades, Asif Capri and Ishaq Bobby, have also been arrested," he added.
CTD Intelligence incharge SSP Omar Shahid Hamid formed a special team, headed by CTD Transnational Terrorists Intelligence Group incharge Raja Omar Khattab, to trace and arrest the suspects.
The CTD team tracked down the existing group's major LeJ network. "The group of alleged militants was properly armed and trained," said SSP Hamid. "They also had availability of funds [because of which] the group has an expertise in making bombs."
SSP Hamid said that Bukhari divided LeJ into different groups and made one of them a sleeper cell in December 2014. "The group remained active between 2010 till 2014, however, the group started working as a sleeper cell after 2014," Hamid revealed.
Plot foiled: Three terror kingpins nabbed in Karachi
According to the SSP, those affiliated with the LeJ and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan are also involved in interprovincial drug business for financial support.
"Dildar was a chief of the sleeper cell and also an expert in making bombs," said CTD senior officer, Khattab. The CTD police have also unearthed sleeper cells of various other militant outfits, including Saad Aziz's group that was involved in Safoora carnage.
Involvement in major terrorism incidents
The group has allegedly been involved in several attacks, including attack on PNS Mehran base, naval buses on Sharae Faisal and Defence and suicide bombings at CTD Civil Line office in 2010. The sleeper cell has also been reportedly involved in bomb attacks on Shia community, including the attack on bus carrying Shia mourners on Chehlum day on February 5, 2010, and the attack on a bus carrying Shia mourners in Kala Board, Malir, on January 25, 2011. The group also allegedly attacked Eidgah and Shah Latif police stations.
The CTD recovered explosives, arms and ammunition during the raid. These included 2,000 kilogrammes of explosives, Russian made RPG, eight pieces mortar shells, one ARG-69 hand grenade, a 12-kilogrammes suicide vest ready to go off, anti-terrorism mine, 150 pieces of detonator HME electric, 100 pieces of detonator non-electric, 25 pieces of chemical strike detonator, five pieces of various types of improvised explosive devices, one block bomb and material used in making different kinds of bombs.
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