KARACHI: A US national and vice-principal at Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC) was shot and critically injured on Shaheed-e-Millat Road on Thursday in what the police suspect to be the first targeted attack in the city by militants claiming affiliation with the Islamic State (IS).
According to SSP Pir Muhammad Shah, the victim, identified as 55-year-old Debra Lobo, was shot at by four unidentified assailants on two motorcycles as she left the college to go home in her red Suzuki sedan.
Lobo was hit twice in her cheek and shoulder, following which she was taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital for treatment. Several hours later, the hospital’s spokesperson said that she was out of danger.
“The assailants left IS flyers at the crime scene with messages in both English and Urdu, claiming that the attack was to avenge the killing of their five ‘mujahideen brothers’ in Keamari,” said SSP Shah, while talking to The Express Tribune. Five suspected Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, including their alleged commander in Karachi, were killed and two Rangers personnel were injured in a clash between security forces and miscreants in Keamari on April 8.
“I believe this is the first incident of its kind in Karachi where militants have claimed affiliation with the IS instead of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or alQaeda.” SSP Shah added that the police will look into the matter to see if the IS was actually tapping support in the city or local militants used the leaflets as a ploy to spread fear.
Similar leaflets have been spotted all over the country in the last couple of months, especially in the northwest parts of the country along with pro-IS wall-chalking.
The leaflet, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, is titled ‘We will burn America’. It stated that the ‘lions’ who ‘killed this Kansas lady’ belonged to the Daulah Al-Islamiyyah, the Arabic name for the IS. “We shall lie in wait until we ambush you and kill you wherever you may be until we confine and besiege you in America,” it read.
Officials at the medical college told The Express Tribune that Lobo moved to Karachi from California around two decades ago and became associated with JMDC as a community health science’s faculty member in 1998.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2015.